What Does Potable Water Mean?

BROUGHT TO YOU BY Mortons on the Move

"Often, when at an RV campground, you’ll see signs for either potable water or non-potable water. Does this mean what you think it does? It’s a good thing to know because a safe water supply is vital for a good camping experience. Consuming the wrong kind could be a risk to your health."

What Is Potable Water?

The word is actually pronounced with a “long o” sound so that it rhymes with towable. It means water treated with chemicals so that it’s safe to drink. In simpler terms, it’s drinking water like what flows from the tap at home or a city water supply.

In Latin, the verb “potare” means “to drink.” That’s how we get the word potable. Experts believe the term has been in constant use since the times that the Romans built the aqueducts. We wonder if there has always been confusion over its meaning in the hundreds of years since.

Why Is It Called Potable Water?

What Is the Difference Between Water and Potable Water?

Here’s another way to break it down. Think of the word “potable” as an assurance that the water is safe. On the other hand, consider “non-potable” to be a warning – it may as well have a red flag attached to the sign. If a faucet, fountain, spigot, or hose is labeled simply as “water,” that leaves some doubt.

How Do You Make Safe Drinking Water?

You can treat the water with a few drops of chlorine bleach or iodine. Others prefer to use calcium hypochlorite in a granular form. In addition, a few different companies produce water purification tablets to disinfect non-potable water.

Does Boiling Water Purify It?

Heating water to the boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit is one of the most common ways of removing potentially harmful contaminants. It’s effective and doesn’t require any additional chemicals. That’s why communities issue notices to boil water in the event of emergencies or burst pipes.

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Are you aware of the difference between potable and non-potable water?