Known for its Scandinavian cultural roots, bustling art scene, and many, many cyclists, the city of Stockholm is a major cultural hub in Sweden and beyond.
Stockholm – and the country of Sweden at large – also has a fantastic reputation when it comes to both sustainability and tap water quality. In fact, Sweden is consistently ranked among the top countries for tap water quality in the world! But unfortunately, further research shows that even the best tap water can come with its fair share of safety and quality concerns. Here’s what you need to know about Stockholm, Sweden’s tap water: where it comes from, how safe it is, and why you should still be filtering before drinking straight from the faucet.
Fast Facts About Stockholm, Sweden’s Tap Water Quality
- The tap water in Stockholm, Sweden, comes from a very well-protected and pure groundwater source, and it also goes through several checkpoints to ensure that it’s of high quality and safe to drink by all legal standards by the time it hits your tap.
- However, even though the tap water in Stockholm is much safer to drink than the tap water in many cities throughout the world, the realities of contamination and pollution can still mar your water quality.
- Therefore, we highly recommend running your Stockholm tap water through a water filter like the LARQ pitcher or PureVis bottle prior to drinking or cooking
Where does Stockholm’s tap water come from?
Part of the reason that Sweden has such a sparkling clean reputation when it comes to tap water is because of its many natural water reservoirs throughout the country – and the country’s dedication to protecting those clean water sources.
Stockholm is no exception. In the city of Stockholm, the purification and distribution of tap water are overseen by Stockholm Vatten Och Avfall (in English: Stockholm Water and Waste). Most of the water used in Stockholm comes from nearby Lake Mälaren and is then sent to one of the two waterworks in the city (either Norsborg or Lovö) to be purified. This process is highly involved and includes several rounds of filtration, UV light treatment, and the addition of water-quality chemicals like chloramine.
After treatment, your tap water is then distributed to water mains and water towers for storage until ready for use. All the while, quality tests are run on the lake, during the purification process, in the pipelines, and before distribution per the Swedish Food Agency’s guidelines.
In short: the tap water in Stockholm is thoroughly tested from source to your tap to ensure that it meets all legal guidelines for safe water consumption! Unfortunately, even the best tap water in the world is going to come with its own fair share of issues.
Issues with Stockholm, Sweden tap water
In 2022, a report from the Swedish Food Agency found something highly concerning: many Swedish children and adults have tested for elevated levels of lead in their blood.
Lead is a metal that was historically used as a material for soldering water pipes and in other building materials like paint. However, it was discovered in the second half of the 20th century that lead is actually a toxic metal, and has been linked to a variety of health issues like neurotoxicity in children. For its part, Sweden stopped using lead in its water pipes in the 1970’s.
Unfortunately, there is no level of lead that can be considered safe, and this is especially true for children. This means that lead exposure, from your water source and from other sources, is a high-priority tap water issue.
Even though the tap water in Stockholm is thoroughly tested at many different checkpoints from Lake Mälaren to your own tap, potential issues with lead metal contamination can still apply. For example, some lead in Swedish groundwater comes from lead fallout due to air pollution (although this is luckily decreasing!). In addition, it’s also possible to still have water pipes with lead service lines in your home if it was built before the 1970s. With a toxic metal like lead, which can stay in your system forever, this means that it’s especially pertinent to filter your tap water to ensure that you’re drinking from a clean, lead-free source, no matter how closely the water is monitored before it gets to your home.
Sewage overflow, pollution, and trash
Stockholm is world-renowned for its cleanliness and sustainability, with remarkably low pollution levels compared to other major metropolises. Even still, it isn’t perfect, which means that the water around the city may not be as sparkling clean and pristine as you might think.
For example, take the work of Rena Mälaren (“clean lake Mälaren”), a group of volunteer divers that has pulled several tons of dumped waste from the waterways around the city, including trash and toxic debris like lead acid batteries, cars, and electric scooters, in the two years that it’s been active.
Or consider the staggering amounts of microplastics that are still found in the groundwater of Sweden despite its reputation as a notoriously sustainable city that puts a huge emphasis on recycling single-use plastics. Even though the city of Stockholm prioritizes minimizing waste, a study published in 2017 found plastics (and especially microplastic fibers) in 25 water surface samples around the archipelago, in an amount comparable to urban areas in California and the northwestern Mediterranean Sea.
Pollution is also a major factor for tap water quality when you consider how climate change affects those beautiful waterways. Even though Stockholm’s water sources right now are higher in quality than many other places around the world, there are concerns that climate change and the subsequent frequent heavy rainfall may lead to more sewage overflow and potential biocontamination of a water source that is otherwise much purer than others around the world.
How to safely drink tap water in Stockholm
The bottom line here is that Stockholm, Sweden’s tap water is considered safe to drink – in fact, much more so than many other cities around the world. But even though it ranks so highly in terms of tap water quality, there are still potential concerns, which highlights just how important it is to filter your water even if your particular water source is cleaner than most.
So to get the most out of one of the world’s best tap water sources, make sure to filter it through a LARQ filter first! Whether you’re looking for a countertop solution for your home like the Pitcher PureVis or an on-the-go solution for exploring the city like the Bottle Filtered, LARQ’s revolutionary Nano Zero Filter technology effectively removes some of the worst water quality offenders like lead, heavy metals, chlorine, and other particulates. With the combination of high-quality water sources and the advanced filtering technology by LARQ, you can safely enjoy some of the best water that the pristine Swedish waterways have to offer.