Is Tap Water Safe to Drink in Romania?

Most Romanians drink water directly from the tap, even though in some places it is rumored that tap water is not safe to drink. And today we’re going to talk about this important subject: is tap water safe to drink in Romania?

I have to start by saying that the price of bottled water in Romania is really low – so if you want to be 100% safe, you won’t have to spend a fortune. While prices in Romania are going up, you can still buy a large 5-liter jug of water for around $1.

But today, we’re talking about tap water and whether it is safe or not to drink. This is one of the first things I research before visiting a new country (or city) and I’m probably not the only one doing it.

Can you drink tap water in Romania?

In general, the answer is “YES!” You can drink tap water in any city, town or village in Romania without worrying that you’ll get an upset stomach or other problems.

But, as you probably expect to read, in reality there are some additional things that you should consider and be aware of before drinking the tap water here. We’ll talk about them below.

The most important thing to know is that not all cities in the country are equal in terms of tap water quality. In other words, the tap water in Bucharest isn’t the same as the tap water in Cluj, Brasov, Timisoara and so on. Just like anywhere in the world.

In all cases, the water that you get on tap is highly chlorinated. Although this adds a specific smell to it and a particular taste, it’s not something bad, as chlorine is used to destroy all living organisms in the said water in order to make it safe.

Some cities use more, while some need to add less chlorine in order to keep the water safe to drink. This is all controlled by experts, and the amount of added chlorine is not harmful to a human’s body.

A couple of years ago, there was a scandal in Bucharest regarding the quality of the tap water, where the City Hall was claiming that there’s too much chlorine added to it. The company handling this stated that they indeed used more chlorine than usually because of recent floods that made the water quality worse, but that the water itself was still safe to drink.

The easiest way to get rid of that unpleasant chlorine smell and taste is to let the water sit for a while. Additionally, if you spend more time in the country, you can buy a water filtering can (we always use one) which will not only remove chlorine, but other heavy metals as well.

And this is the second problem when it comes to the quality of the water in Romania.

The pipes transporting the said water are very old, so you can expect your water to have traces of rust and various other metals.

The same goes for pesticides, nitrates and nitrites – all of which are expected to be withing safety limits but either way, might still be present.

The companies handling the tap water distribution run water tests on a daily basis, though, so everything is kept under control. Even though in some places the water quality might not be the best, it is still safe to drink.

Not all places in Romania have tap water!

While all the cities and towns in the country offer safe to drink tap water, many of the villages don’t.

Instead, here you will be served water from the old wells that are either scattered throughout the village, or in the back yard.

That water is usually of very poor quality and you’ll most likely have tummy problems if you drink it.

So, even though all the people in the village will tell you that the water is safe to drink and refreshing and better than bottled water, I would never risk having it if it’s coming from a well – at least one you can’t see with your own eyes.

Chances are that if you see how it looks, you’ll never drink water from it!

As some of you might know already, we have recently purchased a village house in Romania. The first thing that we did was test the tap water quality and we were surprised to find out that it was safe to drink.

It was a very hard water according to the tests (so we use a filtering can), but it was safe to drink. So even in smaller villages, it looks like the water treatment facilities are doing their job well.

So, should you drink the tap water in Romania?

This is definitely a matter of personal preference. I know a ton of people who swear by the tap water in Romania and who have never had problems with it.

I also know foreigners who visited the country and drank tap water. Again – no problems.

We personally prefer to drink bottled water instead in order to limit the amount of various chemicals that might be in the water (remember, in the city where I live, Drobeta Turnu Severin, we get our tap water from the Danube!)

drinking tap water in Romania

However, when cooking, we’re using the tap water, but from the water filtering can instead. These are the best option for long term stays, in my opinion and I will explain why.

The biggest problem with the tap water in Romania is not that it has anything alive in it – the chlorine handles that.

But the problem is that the plumbing systems in all cities are extremely old and I’ve read many reports saying that there are a lot of unneeded metals – including rust – in the tap water that we’re getting.

A water filter (they’re sold in all supermarkets and they’re around 10 Euros each) does exactly that: removes chlorine, metals and other bad things from the tap water, making it better to drink in my opinion.

So if you stay for longer here, I would definitely suggest investing in this extra gadget to make sure you’re getting the best water quality possible. This probably goes for all countries in the world.

There are options to install filters directly on your faucet but this is definitely not something you should consider if you only visit for a short period of time.

Conclusion

So, there is no simple, one word answer to the question in the article’s title: Is tap water safe to drink in Romania?

However, as you have seen already above, the general rule of thumb is that you can safely drink it in all cities and towns, but it’s better to take extra measures and use a filter to remove potential rust particles and other metals making their way through the old pipes.

If you’re only spending a few days here, there’s no need to invest in a water filter and you can definitely consume tap water without worrying too much or play it extra safe and spend a few lei on a few bottles of water.

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10 thoughts on “Is Tap Water Safe to Drink in Romania?”

  1. I am leery of drinking tap water anywhere. Not because l think it’s bad, but because of the taste. I can detect even trace amounts of minerals and l hate that last in my mouth, so l am one of the horrible people that buy bottled water but recycle. Nice to know the water is safe, even though chlorinated.

    Reply
    • If you are sensitive to taste, then you would definitely hate the taste of tap water in Romania 🙂 In the city where I live, since the tap water comes from the Danube (just imagine!) they use a ton of chlorine. Still, I was recently in Timisoara and found out that their tap water has a particularly bad taste – it was difficult even to brush my teeth with it. So probably it’s a different story in each city in Romania….

      Reply
  2. My 90 year old mother and I took a trip to Romania so she could visit our relatives one last time about 10 years ago. We spent 25 days there, mostly in Bucharest. However, we spent time in Arpasu de jos and Deva. I am a water drinker and drank tap water and well water. The best well water I have ever had was in Arpasu de jos. It was ice cold and wonderful.

    Reply
    • meaning what? Eastern Europe has a pollution problem that is partly severe and a relict from the Communist era, but there is bad water in the West too. or did you refer to the high Chlorine content? it actually worsens the Nitrate problem, because Nitrates/Nitrites plus Chlorine as used everywhere makes it even worse.

      Reply
  3. Romanians should actively lobby their local politicians to apply for EU funds and replace aging water mains as well as upgrade water treatment plants, both for drinking and wastewater. This will result in jobs and modern infrastructure, as well as save the environment from needless plastic bottles that eventually end up in landfills, river tributaries or the sea where they breakdown and pollute our environment. I remember driving along the Danube a few years back and seeing the river banks lined with thousands of plastic bottles…so sad. Also, water filters with activated carbon should eliminate the taste of chlorine in the water as well as metals. The taste and smell results from the evaporation of the gas from the water. Technically speaking, the jury is still out on whether volatile organic compounds (VOCs), like dissolved chlorine, pose a health risk to humans as there haven’t been any long term studies conducted to assess the effects of what is essentially a carcinogen. Ozone is the way to go for treating drinking water, but this works best in highly dense urban areas. That said, any treated water is better than untreated water as the elimination or microorganisms is key and chlorine will do this.

    Reply
    • sadly Ozone is not even standard in the West. I would love to have this here in Austria, but nope….falling quality and rising Chlorine content…

      Reply
  4. FYI only specialized water filters that cost 1000$+ are actually effective at filtering harmful chemicals. The low-cost portable filtering jugs just improve the taste a bit, but are not effective as a sanitary measure.

    Reply
  5. Ideally, the drinking water should not have high levels of chlorine as modern water treatment plants use filtration and UV treatment to remove particles, bacteria, and protozoa from the water. Ozone is then used to prevent bacterial growth in the pipe system however it breaks down easily so several ozone pump stations would then be required. This isn’t economical if population centers are very spread out, which isn’t the case in Romania.

    But, if a municipality would want to avoid any additional ozone being pumped into the drinking water system it could add minimal amounts of chlorine to avoid bacterial growth in the pipes. However, if there is a significant chlorine odor it would be wise for the city residents to lobby the mayor to adopt a filtration/UV treatment process as chlorine can create Volatile Organic Compounds in the water, such as Trihalomethane, which research has shown to be carcinogenic.

    An activated carbon water filter, either attached to your kitchen sink faucet or in a portable water jug, will effectively remove the smell of chlorine as well as those VOCs. As an advocate for eliminating plastic water bottles and for preserving local drinking water, I highly recommend such a filter while also asking the municipality to invest in the necessary infrastructure.

    Reply
    • and who pays for that? when not even villages or towns, even cities in the West have Ozone treatment, nit to speak to press all needed water through osmosis filters like in desalination plants 3-4 euros/m3 in Austria and get chlorinated stuff, often with sediments…and we are supposed to have a good water here…in the plains they have high Nitrate levels it’s awful
      and Germany tells it has a Uranium problem rising in the groundwater from Phosphate fertilizers so where to start, but Danube water just chlorinated is horrible! who does this! at least dig some wells beneath the river or use osmosis filters!

      Reply

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