Can you drink Philadelphia tap water?

Can you drink Philadelphia tap water?

Generally, Philadelphia tap water as well as surrounding areas is safe to drink but may have poor taste due to the chloramine (chlorine and ammonia) added to the water supply. The primary known risks is lead that has been found above safe levels in some tests. Use a water filter such as TAPP for great taste and protection against common contaminants, including lead and chloramine.

Where does Philadelphia tap water come from?

What goes into Philadelphia’s water supply is not pristine, by any means. The system’s three intakes are right next to the city, with two on the Schuylkill River (the Queen Lane Plant in East Falls and the Belmont Plant in Wynnefield) and one on the Delaware River (the Baxter Plant in Torresdale). Both rivers are cleaner now than any time since the Industrial Revolution, but samples from them are still poor compared to the Catskill mountaintop reservoirs that supply NYC, for example.

What is in Philadelphia tap water and who regulates it?

Thankfully the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) does a great job treating the water and the output in our taps is clean and safe to drink according to EPA and water quality standards. Over the past decade, more than 40 miniature “robot laboratories” have been installed in secret locations all over Philadelphia. Instead of samples that need to be brought back to the lab, these automated micro labs do continual onsite quality testing, then transmit the results back to HQ. Moreover, according to water research by OrbMedia microplastics were found in 94% of all tap water in the United States.
The main known risk is old pipes leaching lead as Philadelphia has a lot of old buildings. For children especially there is no safe level of lead. Therefore it’s recommended to use a faucet water filter to protect at the point of use at home to be certain.
It's important to remember that most pitchers and fridge filters do not remove lead and chromium from water. Use a filter certified to remove lead such as TAPP.

Drinking water in public places and restaurants

Generally, it’s safe to drink tap water in public places. If it’s a place where you consume water daily such as school or workplace then it may be good to ask if the water has been tested recently.
And yes, always ask for tap water in restaurants. It’s free and tastes great when it comes chilled with ice.
For drinking water on the move buy a refillable bottle and fill it up at home or in other places with filling stations or filters. This will save money, keep you safe and healthy and reduce plastic waste. Use the MyTAPP app (iOS and Android) to find refill stations around you.

Bottled water

Although recycling has improved in recent years most bottles still end up in landfills or incinerated. Local bottled water is generally of the same quality as the tap water without the chlorine.
Using a filter like TAPP, you will never need to use any plastic linked with your water consumption. When it’s time to change the filter, dispose of its biodegradable refill cartridge with organic waste.


  • It’s safe to drink the tap water in Philadelphia
  • To reduce the risk of lead and other contaminants use a faucet filter certified to remove lead such as TAPP
  • Order tap water in public places but for places with daily consumption ask when the water was last tested
  • Avoid bottled water as it’s not necessarily safer and definitely bad for the environment and waste of money
Do you drink tap water in Philadelphia? We want your feedback and opinion. Agree or disagree? Tell us!
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