Is filtered water good for you? Is it safer than plain old tap water here in Australia?
In Australia, tap water is generally safe to drink and is subject to quite strict quality standards. The water supplied by municipal water treatment facilities is regularly tested and treated to ensure it meets the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG). These guidelines establish the maximum allowable concentrations of various substances in drinking water to ensure it is safe for human consumption. But what happens after it leaves the water treatment facility and travels through kilometers of pipes to get to you?
Sediment, Spores and Bacteria May Hitch a Ride!
On it’s long journey, regular tap water can pick up sediment, chemicals, compounds, plant spores, pollen and bacteria along the way. To counteract that, water treatment facilities add chemicals such as chlorine to help kill some of the bacteria that may be looking to hitch a free ride on your H2O.
Unfortunately, adding these disinfectants can result in unpleasant tastes and odours. These generally don’t present a health hazard however, if your water is unpleasant, are you really drinking enough? We all know the health benefits of drinking enough water and the consequences of dehydration. You may even be avoiding it sub consciously simply because you don’t really like it!
The World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines  recommend 2.9 L per day for males and 2.2 L for females to maintain hydration, assuming average sedentary adults under average conditions, yet according to the ABS “In 2011-12, the average amount of plain water, either tap or bottled, usually consumed by Australians per day was 1,064 ml” That’s a bit of a gap!
PFAS, AKA Forever Chemicals May Be in Your Drinking Water
There have also been concerns and reports of PFAs (potentially toxic compounds linked to a host of health issues, including cancer, liver damage and problems with fertility 1 ) being repeatedly detected at elevated levels in treated drinking water. PFASs are not always removed in traditional full-scale water treatment systems due to their physicochemical properties.
The effects and levels of PFASs are still being investigated in Australia but there appears to be enough Scientific, Governmental and General Public concern, that the Government has created a PFAS Taskforce.
Studies have shown that many home water filters can effectively remove or reduce PFASs from drinking water. ( 2 )
Further concerns arise in regards to lead (pb) levels in Australian drinking water, and although we have strict guidelines in place, there is no safe level of lead consumption.
Tap-mount or under-sink solid block activated carbon (SBAC) filters removed 80% to 99% of total Pb in 2 studies ( 3 )
Most lead contamination comes from tapware that can leach lead into drinking water. To combat this, The National Construction Code will introduce a new limit for the allowable level of lead in plumbing products used for drinking water. From 1 May 2026, copper alloy plumbing products containing more than 0.25% lead will no longer be authorised for installation in a plumbing system used to convey drinking water in Australia.
It is important to note, that many water filter dispensers use a certified plastic drinking water tube, meaning that the drinking water isn’t coming into contact with some potential lead sources.
Sodatap systems all use lead free tapware. The drinking water is also dispensed through an internal NSF certified drinking water tube and the Nanoscreen+™ Dual Carbon filter system removes contaminants. There are also other water filter purification options depending on your budget and preferences such as portable, benchtop, and reverse osmosis systems.
Is it Worth The Risk?
In summary, the evidence on whether filtered water is good for you, or rather “better” for you is still emerging however, it can pretty safely be concluded that consuming filtered water is less “risky”, as filtering impurities out of drinking water is unlikely to be a bad thing and may turn out to be a great, long term health investment.
Some of the compounds found in drinking water, and their long term health effects are only beginning to be studied. Is it really worth the gamble to not filter the water you and your family are consuming?