Water and where it comes from

Do you know where your water comes from?

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution to drink more water? If so, have you decided if it’s from the tap or bottled water? Keep in mind that if it’s from the tap and it’s a municipal water supply, there are regulations and standards set by the government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to keep your drinking water safe.

If you’ve chosen bottled, looking at the ingredients on the label is a good place to start if you’re trying to figure out where the water comes from, as the “name” of the water is not always a good indicator of the water source. A hint from Michigan State University Extension: Whether you’re drinking from the tap or bottled water and no other “source” is identified on the bottle, look at the largest body of water in your town or the town where the water is bottled. Remember, to keep the cost efficient, the closer the water source the cheaper it is to make it accessible to you. Your municipality, the bottled water company supplier, you or a combination of all, does the water treatment.

Here are some terms from the EPA you may find on the bottled water label to describe the water’s characteristic, sources, and methods of treatment.

Artesian water, ground water, spring water, well water

Water from an underground aquifer which may or may not be treated. Well water and artesian water are tapped through a well.

Spring water is collected as it flows to the surface or via a bore- hole.

Ground water can be either.

Distilled water

Steam from boiling water is re-condensed and bottled. Distilling water kills microbes and removes water’s natural minerals, giving it a flat taste.

Drinking water

Water intended for human consumption and sealed in bottles or other containers with no ingredients except that it may optionally contain safe and suitable disinfectants. Fluoride may be added within limitations set in the bottled water quality standards.

Mineral water

Ground water that naturally contains 250 or more parts per million of total dissolved solids.

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