Myths and Facts
There are many myths about tap water. Read on to find out the truth about your tap water.
Myth 1: I recycle, so I can drink bottled water.
Reality: Recycling is always the best option for disposing of empty plastic bottles; however, the cost of recycling is very high. In 2011, the gross cost to recycle and process 107,000 tonnes of recyclable material in Peel was over $30 million dollars.
Roughly 1.5 million tonnes of plastic are expended in the bottling of 89 billion litres of water each year around the world. Besides the sheer number of bottles produced, the energy required to manufacture and transport these bottles puts a huge strain on the earth's natural resources and releases many toxins into the environment.
The Region of Peel's residents are provided with safe, quality drinking water at a fraction of the cost of bottled beverages: a 500ml water bottle can be refilled approximately 45 times for just one penny!
Myth 2: If I don't like the taste of tap water, my only alternative is to drink bottled water.
Reality: If you don't like the taste of tap water, there are many inexpensive options to help improve the taste. Try a filter pitcher or install a faucet filter. Filters need to be changed regularly, based on the manufactures' guidelines due to bacterial growth.
When on the go, fill a reusable bottle with filtered tap water so you won't have to purchase beverages along the way. Travel bottles with built-in filters may also be a good option for you.
You may find that chilling your water makes it more enjoyable. Keep a jug of water in your fridge so you always have a cold glass of water to quench your thirst.
It's also easy to add citrus to your tap water. Lemon, lime or orange slices make it more flavourful and will save you from having to buy bottled water or sugar-filled sodas and juices.
Chlorine is necessary in drinking water to provide adequate disinfection, however, it does not remain long once the water comes out of your tap and is exposed to air. To reduce the chlorine taste in water, stir rapidly to speed up the release of chlorine from the water into the air, or simply keep a jug of cold tap water in your fridge for use throughout the day.
Note: Peel Public Health does not recommend filtered water to prepare baby formula.
Myth 3: I need to drink exactly 8 glasses of water a day.
Reality: Water is essential to maintain our health. It's needed to help digest food, carry nutrients throughout our body, remove waste, cushion organs and maintain fluids.
However, our individual water needs vary, so it's difficult to measure the exact amount that will keep us healthy. It really depends on age, level of activity, the weather and dietary habits.
If you aren't drinking enough water and your body loses too much fluid, dehydration will set in. Children are most susceptible to dehydration because they have smaller fluid reserves and are less likely to drink enough water on their own. The elderly are also at an increased risk because they may be less aware of thirst, or are taking medications that may increase the effects of dehydration.
We need to ensure our bodies are adequately hydrated. Under normal circumstances, most of us can trust our sense of thirst to prevent dehydration.
Most people can meet their hydration needs simply by drinking water with meals and when thirsty.
Myth 4: I need to boil my water to make it safe to drink.
Reality: Tap water in Peel is safe and does not need to be boiled. Boiling water increases the risk of scalding or burns.
All of the water in your home comes from the same primary source. One main pipe brings water into your home and from there it is distributed to all of your different taps.
Treatment of tap water in Peel uses a multi-barrier approach and is consistently monitored and tested to ensure it meets rigorous standards.
Myth 5: I should avoid tap water if it has an earthy or musty odour.
Reality: Tap water with an earthy or musty smell does not have to be avoided. The Region of Peel takes pride in ensuring you are always provided with clean and safe water, free of any pollutants that could jeopardize your health.
The odour that some Peel residents experience is due to seasonal changes in Lake Ontario during warmer months. It can cause unpleasant odours but it does not negatively affect your health in any way.
The Region always treats its water to prevent contamination and regularly tests its quality.
Your tap water is safe to drink every day of every season!
Myth 6: I need to have my water tested by a 3rd party to ensure it is safe to drink.
Reality: Peel tap water is regularly monitored and tested to ensure it’s clean, safe and free of harmful pollutants. Some of our municipal water programs require testing on private premises, such as residential homes or businesses.
Stringent provincial regulations require that drinking water samples must be collected and handled by qualified persons certified by the Ministry of the Environment and analysed at an accredited laboratory.
Region of Peel staff does not leave bottles at the door requesting a sample of water for testing and does not employ or authorize other companies to collect water samples for testing of municipal tap water on the Region’s behalf. Our operations staff are certified and licensed to perform water safety checks and collect samples within the drinking water systems, and they always carry Region of Peel identification.
Myth 7: Tap water isn’t convenient
Tap water can be convenient with just a little bit of planning.
How to make tap water the most convenient choice
On the go:
- Remember to bring a reusable water container (or keep one in your bag or purse)
- Check in with Blue W before you go somewhere new so you can locate convenient refilling locations.
- Keep an extra container in the car for times when you forget to bring one with you.
- Keep a container filled with water in the fridge so it's cold whenever you're thirsty.
- Keep a glass by your bed or in the bathroom for middle of the night drinks.
- Add citrus to your water for a refreshing burst of flavour.
- Keep a reusable water container at work and fill up at a fountain. You can take the container home at the end of each week for cleaning.
- If you have access to a fridge at work, do the same as you have at home and keep a container filled with cold water.
For the kids:
- Let children choose their own reusable container - one that has a fun pattern, is easy to drink from and has a closable top to stop spills. Opt for containers made from sturdier materials than glass.
- Encourage them to be tap water champions in your home and remind the family of the benefits of drinking tap water.
- Be cautious about giving a glass container to young children, due to the risk of injury.
For a crowd:
- When you're hosting an event, consider filling a large container with water, ice and sliced citrus fruit or cucumbers. Its looks great, tastes great, and is economical.
Facts about your water
General water facts
- Canada's water resources account for approximately 7 per cent of the world's renewable fresh water
- An estimated 884 million people around the world live without access to safe water
- The human body is approximately 70 per cent water and every system in our body uses water
- A human being can live only four to seven days without water
Local water facts
- In the Region of Peel, tap water arrives at your home, school or business within 3 to 6 days of being taken from Lake Ontario
- There are more than 4,000 kilometres of water mains running beneath the ground in Peel
- There are more than 25,000 water hydrants in the Region of Peel
- More than 300,000 homes and businesses receive safe, clean drinking water from the Region of Peel
- Do you use municipal tap water for home haemodialysis treatment? Sign up on the Region's secure online database or call 905-791-7800, ext. 4685. Region of Peel staff will attempt to contact you before a water interruption so you can make alternate arrangements for your health care.