Can you drink Seattle tap water?

Can you drink Seattle tap water?

Seattleites, you can be proud of the water flowing into your renowned Cup of Joe! Gushing fresh from the local Cascades, Seattle tap water makes it to faucets almost untreated. The protected Cedar River and South Fork Tolt River Watersheds, supply the city with first-use, practically untouched fresh water, just like Sasquatch has been enjoying it for centuries. Despite this high quality of water, Chlorine is added to the water as it is being stored in reservoirs, before reaching over half a million Seattleites. There is also the added risk of old building piping, which means that no matter how clean the water is, if your pipes leach lead, it will end up in your drinking water. If making the best Cup of Joe at home is what you want, Chlorine, lead, as well as other by-products of Chlorine and more can be removed using a faucet-mount filter such as TAPP.

Where does Seattle tap water come from?

Seattle tap water comes exclusively from the nearby Cedar River and South Fork Tolt River protected watersheds. From there, it is sent respectively to Lake Youngs, 10 miles east of SeaTac International Airport, and the South Fork Tolt Reservoir, 20 miles east of Redmond. That’s where the fresh Cascades water gets treated for the first time. Ozone, Chlorine, and ultraviolets are used to disinfect the water and kill live organisms.

What is in Seattle tap water and who regulates it?

In the U.S, 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. In Seattle, SPU’s (Seattle Public Utilities) water quality laboratory analyzes over 50 samples daily, 365 days a year. as required under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, those results are published every year. Conclusion: If you want to know the exact composition of your water - it’s a no-brainer - you should switch to tap water right away. The EPA guidelines are strict but EWG (Environmental Working Group) - a nonprofit organization, have set their own tougher guidelines, referred to as health guidelines. Visit the EWG website for a detailed list of contaminants in your zip code. According to the EWG report, 6 cancerogenous contaminants above health guidelines were found in “Seattle Public Utilities” water. All are below the legal limit set by the EPA and they are Bromodichloromethane, Chloroform, Chromium 6, Dichloroacetic acid, Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and Trichloroacetic acid. These can be grouped as 3 THMs, 2 HAAs and last is Chromium. Reducing these will reduce possible long-term health risks. Moreover, according to water research by OrbMedia microplastics were found in 94% of all tap water in the United States. In summary, tap water in Seattle is legally safe to drink but to be on the safe side, use an affordable active carbon filter such as TAPP. TAPP removes chloramine and other agents associated with foul taste and odor, Microplastics as well as lead and heavy metals which can deposit via poorly maintained pipes in your building. Active carbon also removes TTHMs and HAAs and vastly reduces Chromium 6 highlighted as a risk by EWG.

Drinking water in public places and restaurants

Unfortunately, King County Health not require restaurants to serve their customers tap water for free. In some very rare cases, servers have been reported to refuse serving tap water, but this shouldn’t worry you. Almost any restaurant you go to will ask as a default if you want sparkling water, bottled water or tap. As for bars, you can also get free water, but you’ll probably need to make a purchase or give a tip even if you don’t order any other food/drinks. Moreover, Seattle publishes a list of public drinking fountains in open-data. Take a reusable bottle with you, and fill it up. Use the MyTAPP app (iOS and Android) to find refill stations around you.

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 water from public supplies, at a premium price. Not only is bottled water a waste of money, it also contributes to the general pollution of our planet. Despite Washington State not having a deposit on bottles & cans, Seattle is one the leading cities in terms of recycling. Seattleites can be proud once again, in 2016, they recycled 58.8% of their Municipal Solid Waste, an increase of 20.6% since the 2003 low of 38.2%. If you don’t want to risk your plastic bottle ending up in a landfill or in the ocean, carry a reusable water bottle with you. If you must buy a water bottle, make sure that you place the cap back on, and that you dispose of it in a “Recycle” can. Using a filter like TAPP 2, 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.


  • Water in Seattle comes from the Cascade Mountain Range and is one of the cleanest in the nation
  • If you don’t like the taste of tap water in Seattle or are worried about reducing TTHMs, HHAs, Chromium, or lead, get a high-quality water filter such as TAPP with biodegradable filter cartridges.
  • To know exactly what minerals and contaminants are in your water ask your local water provider for a quality report.
  • Ask for tap water in restaurants and never feel ashamed about it.
  • There are hundreds of drinking fountains around the city.
  • Get a refillable bottle and keep it filled up with fresh tap water.
  • Refuse bottled water whenever possible and when you must, dispose of it in a recycle bin.
Do you drink tap water in Seattle? We want your feedback and opinion. Agree or disagree? Tell us! Sources:
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