Is it possible to drink tap water in Novosibirsk?

The NGS tested the quality of tap water in Novosibirsk. The quality of tap water also depends on communications

In February, the Russian Accounts Chamber published a study on the quality of drinking water in the country. The anti-rating of the most polluted water was topped by the Sverdlovsk region . There are several regions in this list, the Novosibirsk region was not there.

There is an opinion that the water in Novosibirsk is so good that you can drink it directly from the tap. But whether this is so is a question, especially for the followers of bottled water. Gorvodokanal regularly reports on the results of its research and says that our water has received awards more than once, and the purification systems really allow us to do without filters.

We sent tap water samples to two independent laboratories. Details of the experiment and expert comments are in the material of the NGS.

Study of the Accounts Chamber

In early February, the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation published the results of work on the development of the country’s water sector. It turned out that river restoration and ecological rehabilitation are “not efficient enough”.

Environmental rehabilitation of water bodies is a complex of engineering, sanitary-hygienic and landscape measures aimed at eliminating the degradation of water bodies and improving the state of the hydrographic network. Environmental remediation measures allow restoring the ability of water bodies to self-purify and reproduce components of aquatic ecosystems.

According to the results of the study, the experts came to the conclusion that the quality of water in the regions leaves much to be desired, primarily due to discharges of industrial and domestic wastewater, surface water runoff from agricultural land.

“From 30 to 40% of the country’s population regularly use water that does not meet hygienic standards,” said the auditor of the Accounting Chamber Alexey Kaulbars in the report. – Despite the overall decrease in the discharge of polluted wastewater, there is an increase in these discharges of pollutants such as chlorides, nitrates, potassium and phosphates. In water bodies used as drinking sources, there is an increase in the proportion of water samples that do not meet the requirements of SanPiN.

According to the department, over the past eight years, environmental rehabilitation has not been carried out in the most polluted cities: Chelyabinsk, Magnitogorsk, Cherepovets, Novokuznetsk, Krasnoyarsk and Nizhny Tagil. The reason is that either the cities did not submit documents for the relevant events, or they were not presented in full.

In addition, experts say that some data may not reflect the real situation. In particular, it is said that measures for water purification should take place simultaneously with the modernization of treatment facilities and a decrease in discharges. But in practice, it often turns out to be different: either they are not synchronized, or they are not carried out in full. For example, they can carry out rehabilitation at one moment and immediately issue a permit for discharge.

There is practically no data separately for the Novosibirsk region in the report of the Accounts Chamber. But in the neighboring Tomsk region, the report says, after rehabilitation, the water quality class deteriorated in a number of indicators, which indicates, among other things, “the ineffective use of budget funds.”

According to the Accounts Chamber, from 2012 to 2019, not a single water body with the 5th class of water quality was rehabilitated in the country (the 5th class is the most polluted waters). In the Novosibirsk Region, the Kargat River and Lake Bolshie Chany (the water body is called that way in the report) in the area of ​​the village of Kvashnino are regularly included in this “honorable” list.

According to data over the past 10 years, most cases of high and extremely high levels of pollution were recorded in the Sverdlovsk region. The anti-rating also includes the Arkhangelsk, Vladimir, Leningrad, Novgorod regions and Moscow. Over the years, the number of regions where most of the samples indicated that the water did not meet hygienic standards included the Kirov, Nizhny Novgorod, Penza and our neighbors – the Kemerovo region.

However, in a separate table attached to the report, there is information about how many such cases by river basins. The leader of the anti-rating is the Volga basin. The second place has been confidently held by the Ob River basin for seven years (recall that the Ob flows through the territory of several regions). In 2019, a total of 957 cases of high and extremely high levels of water pollution were registered in the Ob basin.

The best water in the country?

It is widely believed among Novosibirsk residents that our water is one of the best. And the head of the dispatching service of the municipal unitary enterprise “Gorvodokanal” Sergey Zubkov categorically claims that Novosibirsk has the best and tastiest water in Russia.

– Water can be drunk from the tap, it goes through all stages of purification. Our water meets SanPiN, all requirements. Honestly, I myself drink from the tap, without any filters, – says Sergey Zubkov.

According to him, the status of the best water in the country has been confirmed by numerous awards. And claims to the quality of water can arise from bad pipes through which water reaches the consumer.

– If someone there is afraid that some impurities will get in, you can pour water into the bottle, it literally costs 2-3 minutes there and you can drink it. There, impurities settle, because, you yourself understand, we cannot always be responsible for the pipes that go into the apartment. And the pipes in our apartments are not of very good quality, – Sergey Zubkov explained.

By the way, when asked whether it is necessary to boil, the specialist replied that it is possible, but not necessary, since when boiling, some of the nutrients will simply be destroyed.

– Boiled water is dead water. It won’t get any worse from her, of course. It’s just that this water does not bring any harm or benefit to the body, – he explained. He also called dead water, which can stand for months and not deteriorate, in contrast to “living” water, which is desirable to stand for no more than three days.

How water is purified

According to MUP Gorvodokanal, the enterprise simultaneously uses several methods, technologies and technical solutions for multi-barrier protection against pollution.

– Methods of disinfection with gaseous chlorine and ultraviolet irradiation are used. The main argument in favor of ultraviolet irradiation is the need to ensure disinfection against chlorine-resistant microorganisms: viruses and protozoan cysts. The effectiveness of UV disinfection against these microorganisms has been proven by research from leading Russian institutes and the practice of operating existing facilities, – said in response to a request from the NHS in April 2020.

The quality of the source and drinking water is controlled by the accredited Central Chemical and Bacteriological Laboratory for 78 physical and chemical, microbiological, radiological and parasitological indicators. Every day, the laboratory checks 60 control points (740 points in total) for chemical, bacteriological and radiological indicators in the distribution network in different parts of the city, including the most remote ones. In addition, continuous round-the-clock automatic control is carried out using analytical instruments for determining readings for residual chlorine and turbidity at 16 control points in different parts of the city.

On the Gorvodokanal website, you can find reports on water quality testing in the Novosibirsk region. In the same place, the Declaration of “Gorvodokanal” is published, which refers to the stages of water purification.

– At the water intake facilities, water passes through trash grates and grids, and then at the water treatment facilities physical and chemical purification of natural water is carried out according to a two-stage scheme – treatment with reagents, sedimentation and filtration. After that, the water is disinfected to the required standards and kept for at least 30 minutes in clean water tanks for supply to the city’s water supply network, the declaration says.

What the NGS experiment showed

To understand how good the water is in the city, we decided to conduct an experiment (albeit not entirely objective). We took water from a tap in a new building in Zaeltsovsky district (the choice fell on the correspondent’s apartment) and gave samples to two private laboratories.

The first laboratory is “Ecology of Your Home”. Water analysis costs 2900 rubles. The procedure for taking water was quite simple – a courier arrived with an empty plastic bottle, did not go through, asked to take a full container of water from the tap in the kitchen. I wrote out a document and said to wait for the result to be reported. The results were prepared for several days.

The second laboratory is “Water Technology”. Water analysis cost about the same – 3000 rubles. An employee came with about the same bottle – he took the sample himself, waited for the water to drain a little, – explained that the water for the samples should be cold. The analysis was ready the next day.

Samples were taken on the same day with a difference of about one hour. The analysis results vary slightly. In the second case (the sample with which the Water Technology laboratory worked) it turned out that the water was cloudy and the iron in it was more than normal.

“The sample provided for analysis does not meet the requirements of GOST in terms of turbidity, total iron,” the document says. After the results were sent by e-mail, a specialist from the company gave additional comment by phone.

– Slight excess of iron. Perhaps this is due to the pipeline, – explained the specialist. According to him, the excess is not critical, you can drink water by passing it through a filter. When asked how bad everything is, the laboratory answered that people with village water supply systems can only dream of such quality. But in general, in the city, the excess in iron is unacceptable.

By the way, visually exceeding this indicator is impossible to notice – the water is clean, transparent (in addition, there is no scale on the kettle). To understand that the iron in the water is more than the norm, according to him, it is possible by the smudges in the storage tank (if you remove the tank lid, there will be a kind of rim).

According to the result, which was sent by the laboratory “Ecology of Your House”, the water sample corresponds to SanPiN “Drinking water. Hygienic requirements for water quality of centralized drinking water supply systems. Quality control”.

“The water sample complies with the standards for all the studied indicators,” the report says.

In a more detailed commentary, a representative of the laboratory explained what the risk of exceeding any indicator and what kind of water should be.

What floats there at all

An expert from the Ecology of Your Home laboratory, when asked about iron, nevertheless admitted that the indicator suggests that “yellow smudges on plumbing are guaranteed over time”. But in general, “good, standard tap water, nothing extraordinary in it.”

– The water from the river is more or less normal, there are no problems with iron. But, given our rusty pipes, communications, it gives such a concentration of iron. Unfortunately, this is a given, – stated in the laboratory. It was not recommended to drink tap water – it was advised to use a filter, you can even the simplest one, which costs several hundred.

The study was not carried out for all indicators, so it is better to pass water from the tap through a filter. In addition, the expert explained, the MPC (maximum permissible concentration) is designed for an absolutely healthy person who has not been ill or will get sick, but there are practically no such people.

As explained in the laboratory, water pollution can be determined by indicators of the ammonium group – nitrates, nitrites, ammonium, which show the presence of fecal impurities of an organic nature. Also, the excess of the MPC for manganese, the oxidizability is permanganate, speaks of water pollution.

– An important indicator is water hardness (the norm is 1.9–2.5, depending on the seasonality). By the way, the increased hardness gives scale on the kettle. If the hardness is higher than the norm, it means that magnesium and calcium are increased (they are not standardized in research), which can be hazardous to health, the laboratory specialists specified.

What does Rospotrebnadzor say

Last year, Rospotrebnadzor conducted 26 inspections of resource supplying organizations and revealed violations. 90% of inspections revealed violations of the requirements of sanitary legislation. Frequent violations include the lack of production control over the quality of drinking water and the inconsistency of water quality with hygienic standards.

– For violations of the requirements of sanitary legislation, 33 protocols on administrative offenses were drawn up, including 33 for legal entities; 11 cases on bringing to administrative responsibility were sent for consideration to courts. According to the results of inspections, 21 orders were issued to eliminate the identified violations of sanitary rules, 11 submissions were made to eliminate the causes and conditions that contributed to the commission of an administrative offense, – reported in the department of Rospotrebnadzor in the Novosibirsk region.

There are several programs in the Novosibirsk region designed to provide the population with high-quality drinking water. Last year, within the framework of these programs, water treatment plants were built in Suzun, a chemical water treatment plant and modular water treatment plants in Toguchin, a water treatment system in the village of Ust-Tarka, water wells and a water treatment plant in Karasuk, and a water intake in Maslyanino was reconstructed. According to Rospotrebnadzor, this made it possible to improve the quality of drinking water in the distribution network: the proportion of samples that do not meet hygienic standards in terms of sanitary and chemical indicators decreased from 21.6% in 2019 to 20.4% in 2020. In terms of microbiological indicators, the proportion of samples that do not meet hygienic standards decreased from 0.7% in 2019 to 0.4% in 2020.

How to choose bottled water

Despite all the advantages of “living” water, bottled water is still more reliable for many. Last year, Rospotrebnadzor recalled the points to pay attention to when buying bottled water. First of all, it must be transparent, without sediment. At the request of the buyer, the seller must provide documents confirming the quality and safety of the product. For water there must be a declaration of conformity, for water for baby food there must be a certificate of state registration. Bottled water should not be stored in direct sunlight or near heating appliances. Coolers and pumps must be regularly rinsed and disinfected with special agents.

To drink or not to drink

The correspondent of the NHS asked the nutritionists a question – what kind of water should you drink? The main idea, which sounded from nutrition specialists, is that the water should be clean, and how clean it is from the tap depends on many indicators. According to their observation, people often prefer bottled water, because they are sure that the water there is at least definitely clean.

So whether to boil or not, drink from the tap or buy bottled water is a matter of preference, says nutritionist Olesya Lymar.

– I would not appeal with concepts more useful or harmful. Tap water is not harmful, you can drink it, it will not poison you. Also, I cannot say that you should not drink bottled water, that it is dead, – says the nutritionist.

In her opinion, many are sure that the more importance is attached to this, the better. But the paradox is that people choose the right, in their opinion, water, but at the same time do not quit smoking. The nutritionist draws attention to the fact that the main thing is not to overdo it with mineral water, and as for ordinary drinking water – in Novosibirsk it is not important.

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