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Is NYC Tap Water Safe to Drink?

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Based on 4,117+ reviews on

Simply answered: Yes, it is.

Even though NYC is home to more than 8.4 million residents sharing the same water supply, New York City tap water is safe to drink. It comes from the Catskill Mountains and is one of the cleanest in the nation.

New York Catskill Mountains
View of Pepacton Reservoir in the Catskill Mountains of New York during a sunny summer day

Tap water is tested hundreds of times each day since the water’s composition can change daily. It is made sure that not a single percent of the substances that are bad for your health and body go to your taps.

The water is treated with chlorine, fluoride, sodium hydroxide, and U.V. light to ensure it is safe for drinking. It is heavily regulated, so none of the chemicals are harmful to the body. On your part, you can make sure that you are not allergic to any of those substances.


On the other hand, that doesn’t mean the water is 100% pure. It is unavoidable for it to have signs of condiments and microplastics. New York City has one of the oldest buildings in the U.S., and with that go the aged pipes, which can also affect the water.

Another factor is that NYC is constantly growing with its housing units, and needed water amounts are rising, so it gets harder to keep track of those. Landlords should ensure that the pipes are changed regularly and that the water is safe to drink and use.

You can always get a water filter and put it on your kitchen and bathroom taps since the filtered water is better for your face too! You don’t want those micro chemicals to get into your pores while washing your face, right?

water filter
Reverse osmosis water purification system at home. Installed water purification filters. Clear water concept

The good news is that the water is smart. Copepods live in it. Those are a group of small and almost invisible creatures that keep the water healthy and eat out all the mosquito eggs.

Sounds nasty, but you will never be in touch with it since all is done before reaching your home!

Is bottled water an alternative?

67% of New Yorkers choose to drink filtered or bottled water. 33% drink it straight from the tap.

While EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) regulates the city’s tap water, FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is in charge of bottled water. Even though you would think that bottled water is a better option, think about all the plastic bottles used and what they do to the environment. Still, the differences between bottled and tap water are minimal.

You can always buy a reusable water bottle and fill it with filtered tap water at your house or one of many refill stations throughout the city.

Man drinking water
Man Wearing Black Shirt Drinking Water

More details

If you are curious about the detailed composition of the tap water you use, find an official list of the current water components on the internet.

Which reservoirs are supplying NYC with water? Every neighborhood in the Big Apple gets its water supply from reservoirs of the Croton System, Catskill System, and Delaware System. The last two cover more than 90% of the city’s water supply.

Rooftop Water
A Rooftop Water Tank on an Apartment Building in New York

Bottom line

With big cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland, NYC is one of the best cities in the U.S. for drinking your water straight from the tap. It has the best tap water system in the country, and it pays serious attention to all the regulations.

The more expensive and not-so-green way to consume water is to buy bottled water.

The best way is probably to invest in a water filter and carry a reusable water bottle with you. You can always fill it up in one of the many water stations throughout the city!

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