Can and should you drink the tap water in Milan?

Whether you live in a place or going there as a tourist, it makes sense to do some research about the quality of the tap water. Drinking unsafe water could lead to both immediate problems such as stomach illness and long term health problems.

With that said, can you drink tap water in Milan or not? Yes, according to this official source, Italy is one of the European countries in which drinking tap water is safe and this applies to Milan specifically.

There are some risks though including leeching pipes from old building (lead or other heavy metals), chlorine bi-products and microplastics. To avoid these risks use an affordable faucet water filter in Milan.

Where Does the Tap Water in Milan Come from?

Most Italian cities get their water supply from wells and springs. Nonetheless, others depend on water supply from important rivers such as the Arno River, which supplies Florence, for instance.
According to official sources, available resources are evaluated at 58 billion cubic meters/year. 72 percent comes from surface water, whereas the remaining 28 percent comes from groundwater. Concurrently, it is worth outlining that roughly 53 percent out of the utilizable surface resources are located in Northern Italy, 21 percent in Southern Italy, 19 percent in central Italy and 7 percent in two large islands.

More specifically, 70 percent of the underground resources are located in northern Italy, while the groundwater in southern Italy is found in short stretches of coastal plains.

Milan, in particular, gets its tap water from 433 wells that are located in the proximity of the city.

Is Milan Tap Water Clean and Drinkable?

The CAP is responsible for serving the Milan area, as well as the Lombardy region. At the same time, the water goes through five quality checks, and this happens on a daily basis. The thing is that the water might have some traces of chlorine, which could affect its taste, to some extent. Nevertheless, this is actually a residual cover from insignificant quantities of protective chemical agents that act against potential pathogens.

The water is chlorinated, which makes it clean and drinkable for locals and tourists alike. Nevertheless, an issue that has been brought to attention is the lingering presence of some small trains of local E. coli, from private wells. This is why visitors to the country side may sometimes get diarrhea after drinking the water. The body usually develops immunity after a while, so it’s not something serious.

What Do Locals Say about Milan Tap Water?

In this respect, the opinions regarding tap water in Milan are rather mixed. Some our very proud of their tap water, others drink it to save money but many prefer bottled water since they can afford it.

How Can I Test If the Tap Water in Milan Is Safe to Drink?

If you live in an old building or on the countryside without access to public water it’s good to test if the tap water is safe to drink. Just contact a local water lab and they will send you a test-kit with instructions. Take the sample and send it and you will receive the results within a couple of weeks. Here’s an example of how to read a water report. It is as simple as that. However, make sure you follow the guidelines provided by the laboratory.

What about Bottled Water in Milan?

It is interesting to point out that Italians consume a lot of bottled water, drinking 194 liters (51 gallons) per capita a year. And this isn’t because tap water in Italy or tap water in Milan is bad – as already pointed out, it is safe. It is simply because Italians aren’t accustomed to drinking tap water and prefer bottled water instead – regardless of the fact that this habit is harmful to the environment.
Even so, tap water in Milan is perfectly drinkable and safe, since it comes from real mountain springs. Nonetheless, the Italians’ preference for bottled water might be due to the common misconception that their tap water isn’t actually safe.

There are numerous renowned brands that offer a wide diversity of bottled water. Just to name a few – Acqua San Pellegrino, Acqua San Benedetto, Acqua Sant’ Anna, Acqua Ferrarelle, Acqua Sangemini. Not only that Italian bottled water is appreciated in Italy, but also abroad. These brands export their products in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan, as well as other European countries.

Nonetheless, if we were to assess whether bottled water in Milan is safer than Milan tap water, then we would have to say that there is no difference whatsoever. The only distinction would be in the taste and flavor of the water, which is why many locals prefer choosing bottled water.

But we recycle so it’s ok to drink bottled water?

According to official sources, approximately 54 percent of the plastic waste in Milan gets recycled. And while there is a positive trend, way too many bottles end up on landfills and in the nature. There the plastic breaks down into microplastics whereas it poses a health risk to animals and pollutes the water. This can be avoided through the use of tap water.

Is Bottled Water Healthier?

No, bottled water isn’t necessarily healthier than tap water. Considering that Milan tap water goes through all the checking processes needed to assess its safety, it is safe to drink. The water in Milan comes from springs, as it is the case for most cities located in the northern part of Italy so in reality the tap water and the bottled water is probably the same.

Should Tourists Drink Bottled Water or Tap Water?

This is entirely up to you to decide. Both tap water in Milan and bottled water are safe to drink. It depends on your preferences – whether you want your water to have a specific taste, flavor or you prefer sparkling water. But from a cost and environmental point of view buying bottled water (on plastic or glass) is crazy. Because first you will pay 100 times more than necessary for it and secondly less than 20% of recycled bottles get turned into new bottles.  So avoid bottled water if you can.

If you really need to carry water with you, then you should invest in a good water bottle. To play things even safer, you can buy a portable water filter so that you ensure the water is clean.

What about using a water filter in Milan?

The use of water filters in Milan has increased lately. Parents want to ensure that their family is safe and that they always have access to fresh drinking water. While it’s true that Milan tap water can be consumed without any problems in most cases, the pipes aren’t always necessarily new – which might lead to leeching of heavy metals usch as lead and copper. In addition to this the water is fairly hard so may lead to limescale build-up.  This might not affect the taste of the water but could damage some appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines.

Finally microplastics have been found in most tap water and bottled water around the world. As we don’t know the health impacts of this yet it might be a good idea to avoid.

So in conclusion you might want to use a water filter in Milan to reduce risk but it’s not a requirement. An easy to install and use water filter such as TAPP 2 will cost as little as €60 euro per year.

Summary

  • Overall, Milan tap water is safe to drink unless the building or district is poorly maintained.
  • Most locals prefer drinking bottled water, or they might own a water filter.
  • There isn’t any scientific research that underlines the fact that bottled water is safer than tap water.
  • As a tourist in Milan, you can definitely consider drinking tap water and avoid unnecessary plastic consumption.
  • If you don’t like the taste or have a concern about tap water contaminants then use an affordable water filter

Sources:

https://www.wheremilan.com/guide/travel-tips-avoiding-expensive-bottled-water-italy-get-tap-water-free/

https://italiannotes.com/drinking-the-water-in-italy/

https://www.quora.com/Is-tap-water-drinkable-in-Milan-Italy

https://www.internations.org/milan-expats/forum/tap-water-268123

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_Italy

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-3683193/From-Spain-France-Russia-Croatia-Countries-Europe-drink-tap-water-places-really-shouldn-t.html

Share this post: