Is the water safe to drink in Taichung? UPDATED 4/1/2015

The updated information is at the bottom of this post including the results of my water test.

This is a question everyone is asking, and for good reason. Taiwan does not have the same infrastructure requirements as some western countries and while water leaving the treatment plants may be safe, by the time it comes out of the faucet at your home, it’s unclear what it has traveled through or been stored in.

I can’t tell you if the water is safe to drink or not, but I can give you a couple of facts and tell you how to have it tested.

First, the water here is not treated with flouride. So, you should do your own research about taking care of your teeth, especially as it relates to children. If you are in the National Health System, there are free preventive flouride treatments provided for children as part of this plan. I’ll post more about this soon.

Second, if you are unsure, definitely boil your water. Boiling does render the water safe to drink. Even bottled water may or may not be safe. Some bottled water is just bottled straight out of a local faucet, so don’t be fooled into thinking just because you got it off a shelf at 7-11 that you are safe. You may or may not be.

Now, how to check your water. The city has a testing process for you. Here’s what you do:

1. You’ll need to go to this address: GPS: 24.138169, 120.642807, No. 409, Section 2, Nantun Rd, Nantun District, Taichung City, 408.

2. Go inside and if you can speak Chinese great, if not, there are a couple of very nice young ladies who can both speak English quite well. Tell them you would like to have your water tested.

3. They will provide you with a form to fill out. You must be a resident of the city in order to use this service, so be prepared to show your ID card.

4. The cost is $1000TWD. Pay up front.

5. Once you have completed the form and paid your money, they will provide you with two collection vehicles. A plastic container and bag. They will instruct you how to use them and also give you tags to stick on them. Take them home and follow their instructions.

6. Return them to the same office on Tuesday or Wednesday morning. Only at these times can water be turned in for testing.

7. The test takes 10 days to complete and they will snail mail and/or e-mail the results to you.

From there, you can make your own informed choices about what to do.

IMG_6847 This is the place you are going to.IMG_6849 Here’s what it looks like across the street.IMG_6848 Here’s what the building looks like.IMG_6845The stickers. IMG_6844The plastic bag. IMG_6843The plastic bottle. IMG_6842The instructions for the bag.IMG_6839The bag to carry it all in.

UPDATED INFORMATION

As promised, here are my water results. I live on ChongDe Road, next to the Intercontinental Baseball Stadium. Our building is fairly new. I did the test exactly as instructed. I dropped off the test on Wednesday morning and received the results on the following Tuesday, even though I was told it would take ten days. Here are the results.

2015_03_31陳明晰

In addition, I followed up with an e-mail requesting information about potential other metals in the water. Here is the reply from the office – of course you can excuse the grammar, I actually was very impressed with their ability to communicate. The link lists several testing sites to perform additional tests. I plan on doing this after the holiday weekend.

We just check the Iron and Manganese, so I am not sure whether the other heavy metals is in the water or not. We do these two metal experiment for checking the quality of water pipeline supplied from Taiwan Water Corporation to your house. If the pipeline is old and broken, it will release Iron and Manganese in your water. Therefore, if you want to check the other heavy metals, I can give you some company which can check other heavy metals. 

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