Can you drink LA tap water?

Can you drink LA tap water?

Can you drink LA tap water? What is the best water filter for LA? Sometimes, rules are so impregnated into our brains, that we simply fail to question them. Some notable LA specific rules are: 1) your favorite taco truck is the best - full stop; 2) thou shall not take the bus; 3) thou shall not ride the subway (Wait! What? There is a subway in LA…); 4) thou shall not drink LA tap water! That’s not completely true. As a matter of fact, LA tap water is generally safe to drink. Combine a filter such as TAPP with it, and thou shall not worry about water ever again.

Where does LA tap water come from?

The Los Angeles water infrastructure is part of California's interconnected water system, which serves over 30 million people. It is the world's largest water system! Through an ingenious labyrinth of canals and pipelines, Los Angeles imports about 90% of its tap water from the Colorado River and the San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta. Despite the public perception that tap water is not fit for drinking, the Los Angeles Department of Water ensures that their tap water is as clean as bottled water. That might boast well among Angelinos who perceive bottled water as the healthiest; it’s actually quite inaccurate…

What is in LA tap water and who regulates it?

Tap water is regulated by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), while bottled water which is a packaged good, is regulated by the FDA. Although both the EPA and FDA have similar quality standards, FDA standards are looser in terms of how often bottled water needs to be tested and they do not require companies to share their test results with consumers. So if you want to know exactly what it is you are drinking - it’s a no-brainer - you should switch to tap water right away. Not only are EPA guidelines strict, EWG (Environmental Working Group) - a nonprofit organization, have set their own, tougher guidelines which they call: health guidelines. Check out the EWG website for a detailed list of contaminants in your area, all you need is your zip code. According to the EWG report, 5 cancerogenous contaminants above health guidelines were found in “Los Angeles Department of Water and Power” water. All of which are below the legal limit set by the EPA. These are Arsenic, Bromate, Chromium 6, Radiological contaminants and TTHMs. They are all considerably below the EPA guidelines, so any reduction is positive but not necessary. Moreover, according to water research by OrbMedia microplastics were found in 93% of all tap water in the United States. Independent lab water tests of LA tap water carried out by SimpleWater in 2018 concluded that tap water is ok but filtered water is excellent. In summary, LA tap water is legally safe to drink but to be on the safe side, an active carbon filter such as EcoPro could be used. EcoPro removes THMs and reduces Arsenic and Chromium 6 by 40-70%. To remove Chromium 6 and Arsenic almost entirely then activated carbon should be combined with a reverse osmosis or Ion Exchange filter. EcoPro will also remove any foul taste or odor you might find in your water, microplastics, as well as lead and other heavy metals which can deposit via poorly maintained pipes in your building.

Drinking water in public places and restaurants

In LA, apart from a few exceptions from abusive managers, pretty much any restaurant or bar will serve tap water for free - even McDonald’s does. Note that there is no law requiring restaurants to serve their customers tap water for free. You might need to specifically ask for it though, as California is a drought-stricken state and is under water restrictions. On the other hand, drinking fountains are pretty rare in LA. Due to the lack of trust in tap water, many have become obsolete throughout the years. It is highly recommended to take a reusable water bottle along with you. Use the MyTAPP app (iOS and Android) to find refill stations nearby.

Bottled water

Aquafina, Dasani, Evian, Fiji, Mountain Valley, Pure Life, and Smartwater are some of the most popular bottled waters. But don’t be fooled, the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) concluded that an estimated 25 percent or more of bottled water is just filtered tap water, at a premium price. Even worse, 94% of bottled water was found to contain microplastics in Orb Media's 2018 study. The good news is that California leads the way in terms of beverage container recycling rates! The recycling rate of beverage containers peaked at a whopping 85% in 2013. The bad news is that Southern California residents have fewer options to cash in on recyclables recently. This is due to a decrease in the value of plastic, pushing many recycling centers to shut down. In addition to this less than half of collected plastics actually gets recycled. If you don’t want your plastic bottle to end up in a landfill or in the ocean, carry a reusable water bottle with you. If you must buy a plastic bottle (or any other beverage container) look for “CA CASH REFUND” or “CA CRV” on the label. Bringing it to a recycling center could earn you up to ¢10 per container. Using a filter like EcoPro, 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.


  • Bottled water is one of the biggest food and health scams in recent history. It’s a waste of money and our nature.
  • if you want to know exactly what minerals and contaminants are in your water, drink from the tap at home.
  • If you don’t like the taste of tap water or are worried about reducing TTHMs, Chromium, Arsenic or lead, get a high-quality water filter such as EcoPro with biodegradable filter cartridges.
  • Ask for tap water in restaurants and never feel ashamed about it.
  • Get a refillable bottle and keep it filled up with fresh tap water.
  • Refuse bottled water whenever possible, or look for “CA CASH REFUND” or “CA CRV” on the label and bring it to a recycling center
Do you drink tap water in LA? We want your feedback and opinion. Agree or disagree? Tell us! Sources:
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