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What Chemicals are in Tap Water Australia?

What Chemicals are in Tap Water Australia?

As health awareness grows, Australians want to know exactly what’s in their drinking water. While strict standards govern public water supplies, various chemicals still make their way into tap water. Read on to learn about some common chemicals found in Australian tap water.


Water authorities regularly add disinfectants to public drinking water to neutralise pathogens. The most widely used are:

  • Chlorine – The traditional disinfectant added to tap water across Australia. Effective and inexpensive, but can form potentially harmful byproducts.
  • Chloramine – A combination of chlorine and ammonia that provides longer-lasting disinfection but fewer byproducts than chlorine alone. Its use is increasing.
  • Ozone – A newer disinfectant made from oxygen that breaks down to plain oxygen after treatment. More municipalities are adopting ozone for disinfection.


While fluoridation policies vary locally, fluoride is still added to the majority of public water systems in Australia to help prevent tooth decay. But some believe its health risks outweigh the dental benefits. See our blog post Does Australia have Fluoride in Water? for more information.

Heavy Metals

Trace amounts of heavy metals like lead, copper, cadmium, and arsenic make their way into tap water from old piping and plumbing systems. These metals can be harmful, even at very low levels.

Pesticides and Organics

Runoff from farms and other sources can introduce small concentrations of pesticides, herbicides, pharmaceuticals, and other synthetic organic chemicals into public water supplies.

Filtering Water at Home

To remove concerning tap water contaminants, more Australians are installing in-home water filtration:

Australian drinking water is tightly monitored as per Australian Drinking Water Guidelines, consumers should still take control over their water quality through in-home filtration tailored to their local water characteristics and health priorities. Drink easy, knowing what’s in your water.

Read also our blog on Pharmaceuticals Found in Drinking Water.