In the United States, there are about 43 million Americans who get their water from wells. Most of the rest get it from municipal water providers. No matter where you get water, you probably know people who get their water with either method, and you’ve probably worried that what you’re drinking isn’t safe.

City water is processed in municipal water treatment plants and treated with chlorine to kill bacteria and other microbes. The addition of chlorine is necessary to the safety of this water. Among the microbes chlorination kills are the bacteria responsible for diseases such as cholera, dysentery, and typhoid. However, many people do not like the taste of the chlorine, or are concerned about what the chemical might do to their bodies. Also, trihalomethanes, or THMs, may result from the reaction between chlorine and organic matter in the water. These THMs have been associated with certain cancers and reproductive issues.

Water in some cities can also contain metals such as mercury, lead, iron, and manganese. Water high in mercury or lead can cause serious health issues, and should especially be avoided by young children and pregnant women. Iron and manganese are much less harmful, but can discolor water and cause staining.

People who get their water from private wells need to remain alert and make sure that their water is safe to drink. Well water, if untreated, can be contaminated by bacteria and viruses, or by runoff from construction or agriculture. Like city water, well water can also contain any number of metals, including iron, manganese, and rust, which again, can cause discoloration. Well owners also need to be alert to the possibility of cysts or parasites in their water.

So which one’s safer? A lot of it depends on where you live. Both are susceptible to different problems. The only way to be sure that your water is safe is to filter it yourself before drinking it. Water filters remove pollutants, strain out cysts and parasites, and improve taste.

If you have city water, look into our CityMaxx or CityPlus filters. Or check out our QuadMAXX filter, which cleans the water for the whole house. For extra power, the CitySupreme filter removes the highest amounts of Chlorine, Chloramine, Mercury, Arsenic, and Cyanide, as well as other chemicals and sediments. If you have well water, the WellMAXXX processes well water through three filters, removing sediment, metals, odors, and chemicals, and preventing bacteria and algae growth.