With its specific smell, tap water in Bucharest might not seem safe to drink. And probably you heard many say that the tap water in Romania’s capital isn’t safe to drink.
However, according to the authorities, you can safely drink the tap water in Bucharest. Its unpleasant smell comes from the chlorine used to treat the water and make it potable, but it’s always safe for human consumption.
Many people in Bucharest drink the water directly from the tap – and many have done so for their entire life.
While I personally believe that there are better options out there – we’ll talk about them below – I also agree that the tap water here is safe, although unpleasant to drink.
Before getting more in depth with Bucharest’s water, you can check out my previous articles on a similar topic: tap water in Romania, in general or drinking tap water in Constanta.
Should you drink the tap water in Bucharest?
I think that this is the better question to ask. Although, as we’ve seen already, the tap water here is considered safe to drink and goes through various stages of filtration and testing… should you actually drink it?
The main problem, in my opinion, is the extremely old piping system throughout Romania’s capital. Rusty old pipes are transporting most of the water and although bits have been replaced… most of these pipes are extremely old.
This is the reason why personally try to stay away from tap water as much as possible and I think it would be a good approach if you did the same.
We are using a filtering can which supposedly removes larger particles – such as rust – but also the chlorine, making it more pleasant.
We’re also drinking as much bottled water as possible, but prices have gone up so much that even water from the store is now really expensive (around €1.80 for 5 liters, but it adds up…)
You can check out my previous article about food prices in Romania to get a feel of the current situation, if you want to.
As a result, we’re using our filtering can more often than before, and we cook almost exclusively with tap water – in Bucharest or wherever we happen to be.
Where does the tap water in Bucharest come from?
The drinking water comes from the two main rivers in the area: the Arges river (which is the main source), but also the Dambovita river.
The water is treated and filtered in three different places: Crivina, Rosu and Arcuda treating plants.
The oldest of them, Arcuda, is the largest in the country and exists since 1880 and has been under constant rehabilitation since 2000. This is where the first step of filtration happens, with the other two stations completing the process.
Reading about it, I learned that it is a very complex process, involving initial filtering of the sand from the water, an ozone treatment, then various other filtering methods before the chlorine is finally added to get the drinking water.
The quality of the water is monitored permanently and the quantity of chlorine added is always adjusted based on the results of these tests.
When the water is dirtier (when there are floods or big rains), they have to add more chlorine and therefore the taste and smell is even worse.
But even then, the company handling this claims that the water is safe to drink. After all, so many people here drink it and are OK.
You will probably consume it also if you grab a coffee or eat out – all these places use water from the tap. Speaking of which, make sure to check out my previous article listing the best restaurants in Bucharest.
Despite its smell and taste, the tap water in Bucharest is safe to drink.
I did meet a few people coming from other countries who have complained about having various tummy problems after drinking the tap water, but the truth that anything could’ve caused it.
However, if you want to play it on the safest side, try to drink bottled water as much as possible and use additional filtering for the water coming from the tap.
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