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Is Tap Water Ok if You Boil it?

Pot of Boiling Water

One of the things we were talking about in my Cooking Class is water, and should we use tap water to boil pasta for example. The question was: “Is Tap Water Ok if You Boil it”?

I mean we all know that if you cook chicken, for example, we want you to stick a thermometer in to see that it reaches 165 because that is a number that we know for sure all the bacteria is dead and the chicken is cooked through.

But when I first started my research, I wasn’t sure about our tap water being safe. So I did some investigating like I used to do when I was a radio newscaster.

I went to Anderson Plumbing and Heating to find out what they have to say about our local tap water: “We have some of the hardest water in the country. We import most of it and it picks up minerals as it travels through rocks and soil. But what in it actually makes it hard? It’s generally the magnesium and calcium content.

San Diego City can range from 229-325. Many people don’t like the taste of unfiltered tap water. High mineral content can certainly affect the taste. Many filters can remove impurities but not all of the minerals, but doctors say that’s a good thing. Distilled water would have the minerals removed, but that’s a disadvantage because hard water actually provides a little dietary calcium and it has fewer unhealthy heavy metals. It may not lather well, but it’s also not harmful to your skin”.

So they are taking the cheerful approach, that our water is just fine. 

My Plumber has this to say: “San Diego Tap Water is Among the Worst in America. While San Diego is fortunate enough to be in a country that has safe drinking water (if you are fond of international travel, you should bookmark the traveler’s guide to tap water), that doesn’t guarantee that it is perfect (or great tasting). In fact, in 2011, San Diego was rated by 24/7 Wall St. among the 10 U.S. cities with the worst drinking water. As a resident of San Diego, this isn’t something you’d like to hear”.

Well, that’s the exact opposite of what the other plumber said, no? Has the water changed since 2011 so much so that all the contaminants are gone? I doubt that….

Why is it so bad, you may ask? I went to EWG’s database and found this: We have 9 contaminants detected that are above health guidelines (and 8 of the 9 are cancer causing) and 14 other contaminants. But they also claim the water is not in violation of drinking codes. 

At this point, I ask myself: What are these codes? Do they actually say chemicals are okey dokey? Well, I am sure if you have read my opinions before you know I back away from things that make no sense. Instead, I try to focus on what we really do know, not what one source contradicts the next.

Which leads me to our original question: Can you fix it by boiling the water? 

One of the sites I researched makes sense when it says: “Because distillation requires boiling for a while, it kills bacteria, viruses, and parasites. If done properly, distillation like this can remove about 99 percent or so of pollutants, but it can’t be counted on to remove chemicals”. So that’s your answer on that!

According to the EPA (January to March 2017), tap water provided by the San Diego Water Utility was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.

Last month, the State Water Board unveiled a new website that identifies and maps those communities that are not meeting safe drinking water standards according to the San Diego Tribune.

And get this: “More than 3,000 of those residents are in the San Diego region, living in poor communities near Potrero, Pauma Valley, and Borrego Springs”.

So I guess it’s about where you live, and whether or not you care about cancer causing contaminants that the government currently deems are ‘safe’ in your tap water.

And that’s everything I know about water being safe in San Diego!

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