We have always had a debate about tap water vs bottled water. Which water is best for drinking? Is tap water better than bottled water? Is it okay to drink? ls it worth it? These are just a few of the questions that people ask themselves when they are trying to figure out whether the purchase of a bottle is worth the price.
A lot of people would probably say, “No.” After all, do you get pamphlets from your water department with images of snowy mountains and streams of gurgling water flowing down the rocks in crystalline and bubbly pools? No, get billed. So let’s take out the marketing bunk and put together a couple of points of comparison.
Tap Water Vs Bottled Water
At any rate, bottled water is a multibillion dollar company and is extremely popular. And, demand for bottled alternatives continues to rise as the general population shifts to a healthier lifestyle.
It is preferable, as a starting point, a technical definition of “Purity”. Purity is often indicated numerically as “Total Dissolved Solids”, or “TDS”, which measures the concentration of soluble impurities. TDS is measured as parts per million (ppm) or milligrams per liter (mg/l). According to the EPA, tap water must not contain more than 500 ppm of impurities (of all types). Why is it not zero ppm?
Types of Water
Tap is water provided by municipalities to a large segment of the population, and most people are familiar with this type of water.
For the most part most, tap water is considered potable (drinkable) according to EPA standards. Chlorine is widely used and most people oppose the odor and taste of water in the presence of chlorine.
Just Exactly What Are EPA Standards?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the regulator charged with establishing tap water quality standards. The EPA does not ensure purity, but only compliance with standards (i.e., pollutants and deleterious substances are permitted). Most municipalities publish positive reports every year on compliance with EPA standards. But these standards are arbitrary, not backed up by science, and are an easy way for municipalities to produce unhealthy drinking water.
Standards allow for certain “minimums” of dangerous chemicals and contaminants in tap water. What is the difference between a small amount of poison absorbed in your body continually or a large amount of poison absorbed in a short time? Both are arguably damaging to your health.
There are a number of other issues around the tap as well. How much poison can the human body take and how has the EPA determined how much contamination is acceptable and harmless? What test protocols are used by the EPA and how are the tests performed?
Is the municipal water supply safer?
Despite positive city reports, tap water can affect your health for a number of reasons:
- Chlorine is not especially good for you. It has been associated with a variety of cancers – but it kills some micro-organisms that can make you seriously ill. A recent survey by the Associated Press found that pharmaceutical products are present in a large number of municipal supplies across the country. Some municipalities do not conduct drug testing or release test results.
- Heavy metals are an issue within municipal systems. Very toxic metals such as lead (especially harmful to young children) and copper are found in numerous municipal systems. Pipes used in houses and these heavy metals enter the water once they leave the filtration plant. Washington, D.C, for example, was cited for excessive quantities of lead in the municipal supply.
- Salmonella poisoning in Colorado has been attributed to contaminated municipal supply. Microorganisms such as Cryptosporidium have been detected and tested in numerous municipal stores. One outbreak of Cryptosporidium-related disease in Wisconsin was traced to contaminated municipal supplies.
- Many municipalities include fluoridation and the long-term effects of fluoride are a contentious issue. Fluoride is a chemical that hardens teeth and prevents tooth decay, but the most effective application of fluoride is in the dentist’s office – not in the public drinking water supply.
- The TDS tap water in Washington, D.C., varies from 200 ppm to 400 ppm and the range depends on many factors. They include river temperature, river flow, runoff, time of year (fertilizing lawns, etc.), and much more. As a result, tap supply continuously changes in quality – a fact that most people never know and municipal suppliers never reveal.
In terms of health, tap water adds little value over and above the low cost.
Most bottled water is neither safer than tap water nor much more expensive. Types of bottled products are Spring, filtered, and purified water with purified being the top quality.
Springwater goes through spin marketing and many popular misconceptions. Many of these misconceptions convey commercial messages that are inaccurate.
For example, a lot of people believe that spring water is in fact “pure”. Conversely, spring water contains many of the same impurities found in drilled wells or even tap water.
One fact about spring water is that it is strongly affected by the pollution of ground water by animals and the runoff of industrial waste.
But is spring water “100% pure” like many spring water businesses advertise? The fact is that “100% pure” does not mean the absence of impurities in water, but the very source of water. In other words, 100% of the water in the bottle came from an underground source (ie. A spring), rather than from surface water. These skillfully worded terms may be legally permitted, but many people find them misleading and unethical.
And contamination of water sources is more frequently than not. Contaminated ground water from animal waste can affect source water and industrial pollutants such as benzene, perchlorinate and MTBE are commonly found in source water. Benzene is a cancer-causing byproducts of oil refining. Perchlorinate is used in rocket fuel and is very poisonous, even in small quantities. MTBE is used in gasoline to increase the efficiency and water supply of abandoned underground fuel tanks.
The Springwater ad is about images – images of mountains, creeks and wildlife. The reality is quite different.
Spring water is not usually bottled at the source; however, it is usually chlorinated and transported by truck to the bottling plant. At this stage, it is the same as chlorinated tap water and contaminants remain because the filtration process neither filters nor purifies.
It is a product that is commercialized in series at retail points of sale. For the most part, tap water comes from the municipality. This water is then passed through carbon filters to eliminate the scent and taste of chlorine before being bottled.
These are chlorine-free tap water. As far as quality is concerned, it is not much different from most spring water drinks. It comes from a “natural” source, undergoes minimal filtration, then is bottled and sent to the market.
Purified water is the fastest growing segment of the bottled water industry, due primarily to the fact that it is purer than other types of water. Today there is a certain tendency towards a healthy lifestyle. Many health-conscious consumers buy because they want something of higher quality and purity compared to other options like tap water.
To meet the legal definition of “purified water”, the impurities must be eliminated to meet United States requirements. The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) definition of pharmacopoeia (99.9% purity).
Water needs to be analyzed and the results released publicly. Any reputable supplier of purified bottles shall submit test reports on request. The most efficient purification process is a vapor/oxygenation distillation process which creates pure and tasty water.
Purified water is often thought of as filtered water. Although both types are subjected to some form of filtration (as is the case with almost all source water), purified water is purified by additional purification processes, typically distillation. The product obtained, “purified” water, is clearly more pure than source, tap or filtered water.
Consider The Product Not The Source
Purified water can come from a source of spring or ground water or directly from the tap. Regardless of where the water comes from, it’s the purification process that counts. The purification process is designed to eliminate practically every kind of impurity. This implies that the quality of the spring water has little or no impact on the quality of the final purified product.
The steam distillation process of purification consistently produces extremely pure water, without regard to fluctuations in the quality of the source water. This is not the case with springs, taps and filtered water. Therefore, purified water is regarded as the standard against which the purity of other waters is judged.
If you are purchasing water for reasons of higher quality and purity, purified water is your best option. The tap and most of the bottled water is the result of hype and spinning the facts. Do a little research before you drink.
Tap Water and Bottled Water Pros and Cons
- Local water supplies are healthier than bottled water. The EPA makes sure that the water complies with fluoridation safety standards. Safe levels of fluoride are beneficial in promoting healthy teeth and preventing tooth decay.
- This is a qualification requirement for water system operators.
- With tap water, there are no recycling concerns;
- To assure the safety of water, chlorine and other disinfectants are added to kill pathogenic microorganisms.
- Bottled water companies often remove the benefits of fluoridation.
- Manufacturers of bottled water are under no obligation to indicate the source of water. This means that water could easily come from a municipal water supplier that could have conducted fewer tests than the standard set by NRDC.
- 40 million bottles are produced, only 12% of which are recycled. That means waste is lost, according to MSNBC.
- For bottled water, we do not know how many contaminants are found in bottled water. According to the NRDC, you may be exposed to E coli, arsenic or other pollutants.
- According to CEI, bottled water is treated in a special way to remove impurities from other municipal filtration processes.
- Bottled water is readily available.
- Bottled water offers constant quality assurance.
- Bottles Water comes from various brands, i.e. Bubbly, flavored.
- Bottled mineral water is wholesome.
- The EPA allows impurities like arsenic to be found in water. Water could hold up to 10 ppb of arsenic, which is dangerous.
- Water from the tap is provided by lead lines. Lead could seep into water transported through utility lead lines, which could result in health complications.
- With tap water, there are different water providers in different regions, so one region could be better or worse than another.
- Some impurities are chlorine resistant and could seep into the tap water if there is a mechanical failure.
How Safe Is Well Water, And Is It Better Than City Water?
The vast majority of U.S. Citizens rely on ground water for their basic water needs, and ensuring that the water they use is safe is critical.
According to the National Ground Water Association (NGWA), unfiltered well water is terrible for you. The water in the well is not 100%. It is not safe to drink, shower in, for your skin, or to cook with because well water contains contaminants such as micro-organisms and decomposed minerals.
Well water is groundwater that is collected within the porous substrate and sediment spaces. Its quality depends on a combination of natural, biological, physical and other processes.
Well water problems and treatment options include the following:
1. Hard Water
Hard water is a problem related to high levels of calcium and/or magnesium, which are dissolved in water from certain rocks and minerals. Hard water has a number of effects, including the skin, hair, clothing, taps, dishes, tubes, pipes and other plumbing devices.
The hard water solution is to add a water softener to a sink filtration system, a counter water filter, or a tap water filter attached. The softening process consists of the addition of sodium to the water and the removal of calcium and magnesium.
Naturally, hard water can be softened by boiling contaminants. Allow the sediment to settle on the bottom, then transfer the water to another container through a water filter. Transfer the water to another vessel several times. That will raise the level of oxygen in the water.
2. Iron and Manganese
Iron and manganese found in water are especially felt by a poor metallic taste of water. It is caused when the metal bearing the mineral contact with water. The mineral is dissolved in water, releasing iron and magnesium in groundwater.
The presence of iron and magnesium is noticeable when the water contains black or gray spots, cloudy orange water, an oily surface, or when it stains the sinks and bathtubs with red.
The method used to treat iron and magnesium is dependent on dissolved levels. For small quantities, a water softener may be installed at the point of use of the water filtration system. Higher levels of iron and manganese can be eliminated through ventilation, chlorination and hydrogen peroxide.
Naturally, you can remove iron and manganese from well water using a natural occurring green mordenite stone. The process consists of immersing the rock in the well water. The efficacy is 1.34-2.32%/minute of iron and manganese, which is good.
Nitrogen in ground water is present in a number of forms. The majority comes from the atmosphere, while the remainder is in the form of ammonia, nitrate and nitrite, especially in the vicinity of septic tanks or places where farming is practiced.
Nitrogen is useful to living beings, but a high nitrate content is not safe for newborns and infants. It causes methaemoglobinemia, which causes a drop in blood pressure, disorganizing the flow of oxygen in the blood and heart, headaches, vomiting, and the skin becomes bluish. This condition could result in serious illness and death.
Detecting the presence of nitrate in well water is done by carrying out a laboratory test because you cannot taste, smell, or see nitrate. On detection, nitrate can then be removed through reverse osmosis by adding water softeners. Heating and boiling of well water will not naturally remove the nitrate.
4. Acid water
Shallow wells may produce acidic water as the rocks are unable to neutralize the acid content of the water.
Acid water is detected by testing the pH levels of the water. You may also notice the taste of the water being metallic and bitter or rusty stains in sinks and bathtubs. The faucets are too corroded and, in some cases, the water appears murky.
Acid water may infiltrate the water, making it harmful. There are neurological and physical disorders associated with lead in water. Acidic water causes damage to teeth over time, gastrointestinal illness, damage to the plumbing system, and more.
Acid water can be treated with a backwash neutralizer, which works well water, by installing a calcite neutralizer or injections of soda using a soda feeder to increase pH levels.
The acceptable fluoride level is 1.5 mg/l. A dose above 1.mg/L causes dental fluorosis, particularly in children under six years of age. It’s seen by staining and pitting of teeth. It’s just a cosmetic problem that can be treated by a dental practitioner. It could cause skeletal fluorosis, thyroid problems, or neurological problems, meaning lower cognitive outcomes in the future.
The reverse osmosis filtration system has the potential to remove fluoride from well water. It is 90% effective at eliminating fluoride, including other contaminants such as pesticides, sulfates, chlorine and detergents.
Naturally, you can remove fluoride from the water with the aid of sacred basil (Tulsi). It’s a proven natural plant that eliminates 80% of fluoride by merely soaking the leaves and stems of the plant in well water containing 7 PPM fluoride for approximately 8 hours.
What Are The Benefits Of Well Water?
Well water has its benefits; it’s cheap. Once the well is dug and the required equipment installed, you can kiss the water bills goodbye. A source of healthy water due to beneficial minerals of natural origin, making well water cool and rich in minerals.
How Do You Make Well Water Taste Better?
The weird taste and smell of water could be the result of sulfite-reducing bacteria, chloride ions or an imbalance in pH levels. To improve the taste of the water, start by improving your water filter. A water filter will lower the contaminant level, i.e. Chlorine or sulphite. A carbon filter will work great too. Second, the installation of a water softener, in other words reverse osmosis systems. This will enhance well water quality. Third, you can install a secondary filter at the tap.
Increase the taste of the water naturally, and you can transfer the water between containers. This will lead to higher levels of oxygen in the water.
How Do I Know If My Well Water Is Safe?
The quality of the water can change during restart or filling. To ensure that well water is unquestionably safe aspects are essential to maintaining a healthy private well to ensure you get safe water. This includes construction, location, maintenance (has water quality has been monitored regularly and mechanical issues). The source of water (nature of the aquifer where your water comes from) is safely bottled water.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also recommends that health care professionals continually test well water using standardized water quality indicators (WQI). By testing and measuring the presence of pollutants such as bacteria and pathogenic germs, as well as a variety of safety measures.