Water Filtration in Vietnam: Mere Fuss or A Must Have?

Health - Vietnam: May 18, 2018

You know better than to drink water from the tap, of course. But is filtered water enough to protect you from the dubious water quality of Saigon?

Ask Aron Szabo, a water quality specialist with water filtration vendor BWT and the answer you get may not help you fall asleep tonight.

“It’s not just about drinking,” he said matter of factly. “You take in more water in a shower and bath. The largest surface for (liquid) exchange is your skin.”

Depending on where you’re showering in the city, your shower water may be served with non-negligible amounts of cyanide. In the North, you may have arsenic in your water supply.

A persistent problem that is ubiquitous almost everywhere is the levels of chlorine in the water. Szabo said the weak integrity of the city’s water pipe system—Szabo estimates about 26 percent of the water in Saigon’s water pipes exits through holes in the infrastructure—means that there’s an almost constant exchange of chemicals between the dirt outside of the pipe and the water inside the pipes. To combat this, the country’s water treatment specialists have introduced chlorine into the water treatment process.

water qualityImage source: ibb.co

That by itself isn’t a problem; in fact many European cities take the same approach to protecting their water quality. The issue is the amount of chlorine used in treatment. Water consumed in any city in Europe may have around .1 ppm (parts per million) of chlorine. A swimming pool has on average around .5 ppm chlorine in its water.

Vietnam’s water averages around .7 to 1 ppm in chlorine content.

Test your water to determine if this is a problem and how severe it is. But you’ll know if your chlorine content is over acceptable levels with a few telltale signs: irritated skin and damaged or lost hair.

Help On the Way

Saigon recently brought on-line a water quality control system used in more than 100 countries specifically to help recover some of their lost water.

Announced in January, the city’s water management company, Saigon Water Corp., launched an automated water-control system that will be able to, among other capabilities, immediately detect leaks, bursts and failed pipes in real time.

water qualityImage source: swic.vn

At the announcement, Saigon authorities noted that this is an important first step in recovering the 50 million cubic metres of water—the equivalent of 20,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools—lost annually. The losses add up to about $10 million in lost revenue per year.

Be Proactive

The incoming fix notwithstanding, Szabo said it’s within all Saigon residents’ interest to be proactive about this problem.

A home water filtration system can be an easy and painless addition to your home. BWT can install their home water filtration system in about 15 minutes.

Depending on the kind of water filter you settle on, you may not have to replace the filter for up to a year.

BWT’s water filters are nearly peerless in their thoroughness. The water filtration system filters items down to .01 microns in size, the size of your average virus and waterborne medication.

The city’s chlorine levels may be more serious than just the superficial concerns, like losing your hair or having itchy skin. Szabo cited emerging research showing breast cancer patients have high levels of chlorine in their cancer tissue. He warned that the link hasn’t been proven yet between cancer and chlorine but the possibility is one worth considering when weighing whether you can go without a high-quality water filtration system.

Video source: Severn Trent Water

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