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Are you satisfied with your tap water?

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When traveling, I always try to sample the local tap water. Wherever it tastes terrible I wonder, if I lived there, would I always use bottled water or would I get used to it. I'm pretty cheap but I do like drinking plain water and hate having to grimace about it when I do. Indeed, the bottled water aisles in the markets seem larger wherever I think the water tastes bad.

Except for relatively minor chlorine (which varies over time) Providence water is IMO first rate. I wonder if people around here who choose bottled water are simply more discerning than I am, do they think it is safer, or what? Who buys bottled water and why?

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  1. I have city water, and while they do occasionally go overboard with the chlorine (the 1st and 15th of the month) it don't have a problem with it. I have a Brita filter pitcher that I use, and I don't understand how people can spend a fortune on bottled water.

    I will buy a bottle of water occasionally, but it is usually only when I didn't want pop or soft drinks or when I am traveling somewhere that I don't trust the local municipal water supply.

    1. The water in Los Angeles smells and tastes dreadful to me. I run it through a Brita, which makes it drinkable but still not great. Some days, the fumes from the water are so disgusting I feel like I smell bad after taking a shower. If I could afford it, I would rinse off with bottled water and only drink bottled water.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Pei

        We have really hard water here (west side L.A.) - I have become a bottled/jugged water aficionado! I would do my laundry in it if I could. At moment have a call in to a 'whole house filter' type water service co.

        1. re: Cinnamon

          I'm on the west side too (blecht water). My mom (SGV) was so happy after she got the water softener installed. I live in an apartment, otherwise I'd do it too.

          1. re: Pei

            Ha! Just found out the previous owner had installed a 2-3 canister filter reverse osmosis system under the tap as well as a whole house filter/softener (3 gigantic cylinders like rocket parts in the garage).. finally tracked down the manufacturer and they're coming to see if they can crank it all up. Makes me wonder what the previous owner knew about the tap water... sigh.

            (By the way, for laundry, seriously I'd buy Calgon water softener and use that with each load if you have any black clothes... so as not to have gray ones instead.)

            1. re: Cinnamon

              THANK YOU! You are my hero. I didn't even know they had stuff like that.

              1. re: Pei

                No problem. (But I suspect actually not having hard, or overly chlorinated water in the first place would be better - so if you can whole house filter and know you've got icky water, I think it's a good idea... vs. the boxes of Calgon.)

        2. re: Pei

          Simple reverse osmosis systems are easier and tastier than a Brita.

          1. re: JudiAU

            A true RO system in the home is sinificantly more expensive than a Brita filter. You also have theissue of the size of the holding tank. You can not just turn on the RO system and the water is pushed through the membrane and comes out the faucet.

        3. On a well and yes I love my water.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jfood

            Me, too. The only thing I don't love about it is when the power goes out...no water. Oh, and during the droughts we can't water the flowers or the veg garden. I wish I had well and city water actually.

            1. re: danna

              A simple generator takes care of the power. With a well on one hand, and sump pumps on the other, I can't live without one. As far as watering goes - when the town declares a no water emergency for the folks on city water, I can go ahead and water away. I've never run out - but then again, that's why I need sump pumps!

          2. I object to the chlorine taste and smell in our local water. It's also very hard, so needs to be treated by a water softner prior to using to avoid a premature death for appliances that use water, like washing machines and coffee pots. I swear I can taste the salt in our tap water from the softner, so we have an under-the-counter Omni double filter system. We use the filtered water for drinking, cooking, and coffee, and regular tap water for everything else. I'll buy bottled water if I'm on the road for convenience, but won't pay for when dining out.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Niki in Dayton

              "It's also very hard, so needs to be treated by a water softner prior to using to avoid a premature death for appliances that use water, like washing machines and coffee pots."

              I didn't know that! It sure explains a lot, though! :-/

            2. I live in the San Fernando Valley. Now and then they go way overboard on the chlorine, which results in things like faded laundry and me smelling like I've just come out of a pool, but in general it tastes fine. I drink it straight out of the tap, without a Brita or any such nonsense.

              I do keep bottled water on hand for guests, because so many people have a Thing about tap water, but after they're gone I refill the bottles from the tap and drink them myself. The water that comes from the bottles (Sparkletts, Crystal Geyser, etc.) comes from the same damn snowpack that my city water comes from.

              1. In San Diego the water has a nasty chlorine smell and taste and I always drink water from the bottle.

                5 Replies
                1. re: honkman

                  I wondered if someone would nominate San Diego's water. It has got to be some of the absolute WORST water in the entire U.S. Heavy mineral content before the city water treatment people get done with it. This stuff is nasty and vile, but I drink about a gallon of it a day :-D

                  1. re: DiningDiva

                    Are you seriuosly drinking this water ?

                    1. re: honkman

                      Actually yes. You forget, I grew up drinking this water, so I'm used to it. I do drink a reasonable amount of bottled water but when that's not available, tap water it is.

                    2. re: DiningDiva

                      I've lived all around the U.S. (NYC, Boston, DC, NOLA, Chicago, Taos and Santa Fe, SF Bay Area, San Diego, Seattle). San Diego has the worst tap water I've ever tasted. Fill up a glass with the nasty, cloudy stuff...let sit for ten minutes...observe the revolting sediment at the bottom of the glass. Yecccch! Bottled water was de rigeur in SD...I was warned immediately when I moved there.

                      The best tap water I've had was in Taos, NM...clear, ice-cold and straight from the mountain source. Delicious. For a big city, New York's water was amazingly tasty and clean. Bay Area water is pretty good too, but not quite at NYC's level.

                    3. re: honkman

                      I'm with you-- San Diego's water is the absolute worst. Las Vegas water is only slightly better.

                    4. In the Boston area, it's pretty good (although my town is flushing the lines for the next several weeks, so there will be a lovely pale rust color during the day). I use a Brita water filter pourer, and that seems to take any major taste impurities out.

                      1. I buy reverse osmosis water at my local natural grocery for 50 cents a gallon. I figure it costs me about 30 cents a day to drink water that is vastly superior to tap, and much better tasting than most bottled waters. I did have to invest in a few high density hard plastic bottles to start, but it's worth it.

                        Only problem is, once you get used to good water it's difficult to go back to tap. I find myself splurging on bottled water in restaurants more and more often so that the flavors in the food are not damaged by sips of lousy water.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Morton the Mousse

                          At what point does it become economical to put your own unit under the sink? Forget the direct cost, lugging the darn bottles around would kill me.

                        2. I generally have no problem with local tap water - Washington DC's is just fine. But I once had really superlative tap water - Fairfield, Pennsylvania - the Fairfield Inn Restaurant - and it wasn't just me, my father was there and (I swear I'm not exaggerating) we could have been happy with a basket of rolls and all the water we could drink. I can't describe it (memory fails me, it was a long time ago) but it was airy, crisp and fresh. The waitress said it was "just water." Who knows?

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: wayne keyser

                            I've had the same experience in other places (usually near big lakes or rivers). Tahoe and Seattle come to mind. SF has great water, for a city.

                            1. re: Pei

                              Second on the SF water, or as we like to call it "Eau de Hetch Hetchy". I have a large line filter as well as the built in filter on the fridge which supplies all of the drinking water we use. Visitors usually remark on how good it is.

                              1. re: Scrapironchef

                                Yes San Fran water direct from the Sierras is good, but the best I've had is the amazingly always chilly..(even in summer) water in New York City...(how do they do that?) the water (if it comes through newish pipes) is pristine tasting...from the Delaware water gap, I think....only refridgerated Volvic is as good!

                                1. re: Scrapironchef

                                  Yes, our water in the bay area is the best. I have a friend who lives outside Sacramento & she fills up bottle after bottle of my tap water when she visits to take home with her.

                                2. re: Pei

                                  Seattle's water is great if you live south of the Ship Canal; it comes from the Cedar River, which is very clean and pure. North of the Canal, it comes from the Tolt, which runs through cedars and has a nasty taste to it. I live north, unfortunately.

                                  We have a cabin in the Cascades with well water, and, while perfectly harmless, it's so full of tannin or whatever the hell from trees that it's orange. Undrinkable; tastes like weak tea and dirt. The stain from standing water in the toilet is impermeable.

                                3. re: wayne keyser

                                  The well water where I grew up was like that. We lived over a big underground spring.

                                  When I lived in DC, the water tasted fine, but when it was tested in my house (which had no lead pipes) from our kitchen tap it had 15 times the EPA limit for lead.

                                4. The water in the Phoenix area(phoenix proper and all the surrounding suburbs) is just dreadful. Water is its own retail industry here with water stores everywhere selling RO water for $.25/gallon. I won't drink or cook with the tap water here and don't know anyone that drinks it.

                                  When we lived in the Seattle suburbs we always drank from the tap.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: ziggylu

                                    Ditto, PHX has some of the worst water I've tasted. Growing up in Duluth, MN, cold and delicious Great Lakes water was always on tap - how I miss that. Now, it's RO or bottled for everything.

                                    1. re: ziggylu

                                      Yes, it's amazing how bad it is here in phx. In Bend, OR, we, too, always drank the tap water. The only place I've had worse water was a little town near Bakersfield, CA, called Oildale. I think they've cleaned it up now, but they drill for oil around there, and there used to be an oil/tar flavor in the tap water.

                                    2. Whatever they're sending through the pipes in Pasadena generally works just fine for me. It's harder than the rocks it comes from, and will lime up your teakettle and your shower head faster than you can try to keep them clear, but it tastes good to me, especially having grown up on limestone deep-well water in Illinois.

                                      1. San Francisco water is the best tap water I've had yet. Hetch Hetchy, or maybe it's the old pipes.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: jcpageca

                                          I think San Francisco has been named one of the cities with the best tasting water. Of course, ours here in Reno comes straight from Tahoe, and tastes great. (Plus it comes out of the tap cold!) I take it for granted sometimes, until I go to Central Florida, where the water tastes like sulfur......

                                          1. re: janetofreno

                                            First time I cooked in someones kitchen with sulfury water I almost cried, everything tasted like rotten eggs to me, they didn't notice it.

                                        2. After years of hard (iron and magnesium) and acidic well water ruining my pipes and faucet seats/washers on a regular basis, I put in a water softener system, with a large calcium carbonate tank - Tums for the water system - plus undersink r/o units in the kitchen and upstairs bathroom. We've been really happy ever since. That's been over 5 years ago - annual maintenance is about $300. Annual salt bill (for on-going flushing of the resin) is about the same. The R/O units take care of salt in cooking and drinking water - although our system does not seem to leave a horrible amount of salt in the water. It is very drinkable as is. (I've seen other people's systems where the output water is overbearingly salty.)

                                          We get the water tested about every year - so far, so good. No more busted pipes, having to replace the water heater, spots on the car after washing and no need for washer or dryer clothes softeners. If I want minerals in my drinking water, I'll buy a case of Pellegrino at Costco.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: applehome

                                            Sounds like you have both bases covered. Your water softener uses the ions from the "salts" to attract the minerals from the water coming onto your house. it does not add salt to the water and should not leave a "salty" taste like your neighbors. Sounds like he RO system is working nicely and it can get the salt solids out of your tap water to a level where you would have to be pretty good to taste but you still want some salt in the tap. Buy a bottle of distilled water in the market and taste a swig, that's about as saltless as a consumer can buy.

                                          2. I'm in NYC & am totally satisfied with the water that comes out of the tap. Although I'm pretty sure NYC is known for great tasting tap water, it never ceases to amaze me how many people drink bottled water. Another thing I always consider is the horrible environmental footprint of bottled water - in an attempt to obtain the purest water we're polluting our environment in the process by discarding the plastic bottles & adding to our landfills (not all plastic can/will be recycled) as well as the pollution caused by the transportation to get the water from where it's bottled to the stores (Fiji water!!) Also, as many of us know, the advertising of these waters is very often misleading - water that comes from a municipal well or source (Dasani)= tap. Yes, in many places it may be a need, but I think it's become a dangerous environmental trend. Sorry to be all high horsey but this issue has always been a thing for me.

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: mookster

                                              Yea! Mookster!! I've been singing this song for years.
                                              Have you considered the energy used to manufacture the bottles - from petroleum products!! - and to recyle them and hauling those empties around coming and going? And the cost of refrigeration in convenience stores?
                                              Now the latest trend is flavored waters. What? People are bored with the taste of plain H2O so this isn't about flavor.
                                              Most of the world still doesn't have potable water and we whine about an "off taste" that can be easily remedied by letting a pitcher sit for a few hours and then filtering the water.
                                              I agree with you completely about the impact on the environment and also about our priorities.

                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                Phew! Glad you (& others)get the issue. Even with all the articles & reports out there about the environmental impact of bottled water (along with evidence that the water in those bottles isn't anymore "safe" or "pure" than NYC tap) I still get weird looks at work when I put a glass under the tap.

                                              2. re: mookster

                                                I live in NYC as well. And I (mostly) agree with you. I use Brita here and would like to get an under-the-counter filtration. why? because all you are saying has to be balanced with the fact that there is still too much crap in our water (like arsenic and heavy metals) - Organic Style (out of business, unfortunately) did a fantastic spread on water around the country and what is actually in it. Brita helps the taste but doesn't get rid of the stuff that can harm us. So if I only had two options: tap or bottle, I might choose bottle and continue to be vigilant about recycling.

                                                1. re: mookster

                                                  From NYC (Queens): our tap water's OK. Straight in (unfiltered) for coffee, tea, and crystal light, but I worry whenever there's talk of high levels of e coli.

                                                  Also there's this business that you can't put the regular plastic bottles in the freezer for quick cooling because toxins come out of the plastic. Use polycarbonate containers (that get regularly washed)for water.

                                                  1. re: iwanchow1

                                                    That no-plastic-bottles-in-the-freezer thing has been busted as an urban myth.

                                                  2. re: mookster

                                                    I love NYC water, even in a prewar building with old pipes, it still tastes fresh. I've drunk it from a source (from springs in Catskills) and it tastes almost the same. I also like the fact that in order to hydrate our big thirsty city, the state has bought all that land and designated it 'forever wild' and prevented development and now we have a nice outdoors playground within just 2 hours from NYC!

                                                    1. re: mookster

                                                      I'm in NYC too and love the water. We use it straight from the tap for cooking, coffee, and the like. For straight drinking, we do keep a Brita filter in the frig. Occassionally if we are out somewhere we'll get a bottle of water. But the H insists on saving the bottle and refilling it from our own tap water at home for use later. We totally agree with the other posters about bottled water and the environment.

                                                      1. re: LNG212

                                                        LNG, that is a beautiful thing. I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and the outlying counties can't sell the water sources and surrounding lands to mega corporations fast enough. That's stewardship for ya. (not!)

                                                    2. I grew up in Pawtucket, but I do believe our water supply came from Providence. As I always remember my Dad telling me so, and also telling me how great our water was, and that others were not so lucky. To this day I appreciate water, as well as a great beer or wine - although that I learned on my own!

                                                      I actually have a memory from over 40 years ago, standing at the kitchen sink, having a glass of water together as we came in from working out in his patch of heaven - the garden! That is when he told me to appreciate our luxury of good water.

                                                      I have well water now, although it is very hard, it tastes fine to me. I hate having to think that so many HAVE to buy bottled water.

                                                      Or do they just think they do, I don't know.

                                                      He instilled in me, not to take for granted the garden or water, bless his heart and soul!

                                                      The absoulte funny thing is, that there was a river that ran down a place we walked to school, and the water was always in color.(Weeden St for those that may know Pawtucket) We used to marvel at it at the time. Hey we were kids! Talk about toxic waste!

                                                      1. Where I live (Redmond, WA) there are two sources of water, depending on where you live in the city. Most of the downtown area (where my parents live) uses groundwater, which is quite good, and I have no problem drinking it from the tap. The outskirts of town (where my apartment is) use water that comes from a nearby river, and tends to be a bit heavy on the chlorine, but is otherwise pretty good. I usually drink from a Brita pitcher, although that's as much for storage in the fridge as it is for filtering. If I lived anywhere which uses Colorado River water, I'd probably need to get a water softener. The very heavy mineral content just doesn't agree with me. I will buy bottled water on occasion when I'm out, but that is only to make sure I can get it nice and cold.

                                                        1. Silicon Valley tap water smells and tastes a bit sketchy. I drink the ice water at restaurants without complaint (usually), but at home I use a Brita pitcher.

                                                          1. MWRA water in Greater Boston from the Quabbin reservoir is very good in terms of taste. Also the most expensive in the US, of course; we will be paying for the Boston harbor cleanup for some time to come, as we enjoy our now sparkling harbor....

                                                            The variation comes from pipes, which can make the water relatively soft and sometimes affect flavor. I remember living in Cambridge a generation ago during a drought where the water table descended below some of the pipes in the 'hood and our water started to suffer. We were told that some of the pipes were something like 150 years old -- they were huge white pine logs that finally began to rot because of the lowering of the water table! They were replaced, and the problem went away.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                              We live just 10 miles north of Boston in a house 107 years old and have been buying bottled water for almost 15 years. There's just something about the old pipes that worry me.
                                                              I use BW for brewing coffee & tea, and for soups, but do use the tap for macaroni water.

                                                              Vermont water seems very hard to me and the tap water actually gives me a stomach ache.

                                                            2. I live south of Boston and my town has all it's own wells and the water is perfect. I would never consider buying bottled water other than to carry in my car.

                                                              1. Where I live in England the water is so hard it regularly wrecks toilets, washing machines, kettles, immersion boilers, and other appliances. Scrubbing the hard water stains off my shower or kitchen sink draining board is hard work, even if they only build up for a day or two. There are loads of products in the shops for getting rid of limescale in appliances. I use two Brita filter pitchers for drinking and cooking water, and that seems to help prevent scale in the kettle.

                                                                I miss my NYC water.

                                                                1. I live in DC, and the water here is great, at least in comparison to the sulfur, nose-killing, liquid they serve in central Florida :). However, like some of the above posters, I had a sublime "water" experience when I was in Amish country, PA. I was up to visit a friend and had gotten back from losing at golf, and the water literally made me stop eating for a bit :).

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: ubermasonfan

                                                                    I had water like that once too, it was at my BIL's cabin on the outskirts of Yellowstone. They have a stream on their property and told us to scoop up a handful and taste. It was so cold and so refreshing, with NO TASTE AT ALL. A wonderful experience I still remember 20 years later.
                                                                    I guess we're lucky on Long Island, we complain about the slight chlorine taste but the water is naturally as soft as can be (comes from aquifers that are from pre-historic times, with water that filters through the sand that subs for soil around here) although most residents think it has poison in it from dumped chemicals. That's their excuse to buy bottled water, and further pollute the environment. We had a well when we lived upstate and I couldn't even use the tub, it turned bright red from the iron. Also lost all the bounce in my hair, it was so hard. Thanks for reminding me that I could have it worse. Think I'll go have a glass in celebration.

                                                                  2. Pittsburgh water is OK but we prefer to run it through a Brita like many others. The worst water I've so far was in Orlando, FL.

                                                                    1. I live most of the time in the NYC suburbs and the water is very good. The rest of the time I am in Maine and have spring or well water which is excellent.

                                                                      1. I love NYC water. LOVE IT.

                                                                        Other samplings:
                                                                        Phoenix water is thick and horrible (and my AZ friends agree; they love NYC water).
                                                                        Boston water is just OK. Doesn't taste as good as NYC's but its mouth-feel is fine.
                                                                        Seattle water isn't that bad
                                                                        Didn't like PDX water though.
                                                                        Buffalo area is pretty good.

                                                                        1. NYC tap water IS good!

                                                                          I used to work in Toronto and found the tap water to be delicious, though I'm not sure what Torontonians think about it. The water here in Hamilton's not bad either. The tap water in Oakville, however, is so over-chlorinated that every time I turn on the tap at my parent's place the Javex-like fumes turn my stomach.

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: WineWidow

                                                                            I like Toronto water too. The water here is very hard, and the minerals in it give it a fresh, crisp taste.

                                                                            1. re: WineWidow

                                                                              I like Toronto tap water most of the time. When winter sets in, it's the best, but for a couple of weeks just after a long hot summer it tastes like a swamp, but leave it to sit for a bit and it's fine. I can compare it to England and Japan and it's better, but that might not be saying much. Can't remember NY water from the last time I was there several years back.

                                                                              1. re: missmu

                                                                                Ah, Toronto comes in third in North America, bettered by Oklahoma City and a county in Kansas. Here's a link to the Toronto Star article:
                                                                                http://www.thestar.com/living/article...

                                                                                1. re: missmu

                                                                                  Third OF THE CITIES TESTED, not "third in North America." Having lived in Toronto for 3 years, I can promise you that Calgary water, from the cold, fresh Bow, is much, much better than Toronto's. No geosmin, no mustiness, and COLD, even in August.

                                                                                  Toronto's water is great in winter, I will give you that, but among the 7 cities I've lived in, Calgary is tops.

                                                                                  1. re: John Manzo

                                                                                    Good point. While I have no real complaints about Toronto tap water and drink it without hesitation, I think I can imagine better water existing.

                                                                            2. I drink R/O water from the local supermarket for 39 cents a gallon. The reality is that bottled water is not subject to the same testing as tap water. Therefore tap water by itself could have more harmful chemicals in it than tap water. If I had my way, I would drink nothing but distilled water as the distilling process (supposedly) removes all harmful chemicals and unfortunetly all flavor as well - but I would that as opposed to drinking a bunch of chemical filled water either from the tap or from a well.

                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: bluesman13

                                                                                I'm in Chicago and the water is great. In some of the western suburbs where they use well water, it's absolutely disgusting. My hair never felt clean and my clothes had rust stains. I always laughed at people who bought water until I lived there for three ungodly months.

                                                                                1. re: bluesman13

                                                                                  Have you ever done a random test of the RO water you buy? The truth is they aren't anymore regulated than the water bottlers.

                                                                                  1. re: Scrapironchef

                                                                                    you're right, Scrapironchef, the R/O water I buy at the market is not regulated at all. In reality, it's probably purified tap water.

                                                                                    My thought is that at least it's purified in some way, whereas who knows what's done to "spring" water, if anything at all.

                                                                                    On the other hand, how often are the purification machines in the markets inspected. Who knows when the last time their filters were changed.

                                                                                    1. re: bluesman13

                                                                                      Exactly why i installed my own filters, I have no one to blame but myself if I'm drinking lousy water.

                                                                                      We drink a lot of water at home, neither wifey or I are big fans of sodas and the like. Water quality matters a lot and I'm way too cynical to buy "good" water of unknown provenance.

                                                                                2. Here's a dumb question, to those who mentioned having had their water tested: Who did the testing? Who do you call for such a thing?

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Sassafras

                                                                                    This is not at all a dumb question. The issue is that there are so many tests that can be run, that you have to be very specific in asking what you want done - you can't just say, "test my water". There are labs connected with state universities and city water processing plants that do tests for homeowners. But there are now a number of off the shelf products that test basic items, and then there are more comprehensive over the mail labs where you buy kits and send off your water. Here is one site with a number of products:

                                                                                    http://www.discovertesting.com/produc...

                                                                                    1. re: Sassafras

                                                                                      When I lived in DC, my water was tested by the DC goverment. There were two tests one was a test of the water that first came out of the tap in the morning. The second was a test after it had been running for a long period of time (five or ten minutes). The amount of lead in the water was dangerously high in both tests, even though my home had no lead pipes. I shudder to think what it would have been if I had tested it in other houses and apartments where I lived that still had old pipes.

                                                                                      I would recommend that anyone who lives in an old house, neighborhood or city get their water tested for lead--especially if you have children.

                                                                                      1. re: butterfly

                                                                                        Thanks for the info, both of you. I've just moved into an old house (and expecting a baby in a few weeks) so I'll add this to the list of things to check out.

                                                                                    2. I think I can speak for the entire state of Arizona: NO WAY, JOSE!!!

                                                                                      If you ever come here, don't bother with tap. Pick up a bottle immediately. Do not pass Go.

                                                                                      We get our water from the Colorado River - 'nuff said. In fact, most water in S. California, AZ, and NV is awful because of this.

                                                                                      The water I had at my in laws up in the Catskills was perfect. Cold and clean.

                                                                                      I need to add: The water in Orlando, FL is awful. It smells like sulfur.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: mamamia

                                                                                        On my recent backpack in Grand Canyon, I drank from tap - had no choice. Water was pretty good (strange tasting at first but got used to in a day). But maybe because the GC National park is supplied by Roaring springs, not Colorado? Now that I think of it, water from a fountain at Vegas airport was pretty bad.

                                                                                      2. I used to live in Manhattan, KS (only an hour from where I grew up where the water tastes fine to me) and the water there would literally make me gag... I kid you not! I couldn't even brush my teeth with it!!! I don't know what the taste was; it wasn't overly chlorinated like some people mention. Sometimes I would forget and order it at a restaurant, and let's just say, it was not a pretty sight! I definitely bought bottled water for those three years that I lived there... I never tried a purifier though I'm sure that would have worked.

                                                                                        1. I live south (downriver) from Louisiana's Cancer Alley on the Mississippi River (aka the "American Ruhr"), one of the largest collection of petrochemical & heavy industry areas in the country. My tap water comes from this great river, after more than 130 industrial plants just in the last 100 miles have their way with it (not to mention everyone else upstream). HELL YES I drink bottled water, preferably artesian/natural spring water.

                                                                                          The smell and taste vary according to the season & discharge rates(high water in the spring when the river's volume makes it taste a little better, but low water in fall/early winter is pretty bad). I filter it at the tap for cooking, etc. and have a filter on the auto icemaker as well. These filters are supposed to last 3-4 months, but I have to change them monthly for optimum performance.

                                                                                          I did enjoy the wonderful NYC tap water on a recent trip...wish I had that good stuff flowing out of my kitchen faucet.

                                                                                          1. I hate my tap water and always drink bottled (northern RI).

                                                                                            1. I am wondering (seriously) if I have a genetic mutation that doesn't allow me taste the vileness of Southern California (Santa Barbara) water.

                                                                                              I was shocked when I moved here from the Northeast and discovered almost everyone has water delivered or buys it at the market, etc. I have no problem drinking water straight from the tap, but others tell me I must be bonkers. (For the record, I find sulfury well water in certain parts of the northeast to be pretty nasty.)

                                                                                              I have this theory that Southern California's love of bottled water is due to some kind of groupthink brainwashing that went on in the 1950s or something, and is being exploited by all the water companies. Am I one of very few who doesn't mind SoCal tap water?

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: allegro805

                                                                                                I live in the San Fernando Valley and I drink tap water all the time. I keep bottled water on hand because I know some of my guests are squicked out by tap water, but our water comes from the Sierra Nevada and the Colorado River... it tastes fine.

                                                                                                Now and then it'll be overchlorinated, and I call 311 and complain and it usually gets fixed in a day or so, and I get an adjustment on my LADWP bill.

                                                                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                  Nice to know someone else in SoCal drinks the water. Curious, are you a native?

                                                                                              2. I live in Portland, Oregon and the water here is fabulous! I grew up in the San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles) which wasn't horrible, but not good either. We had water delivered my whole life I believe. Then I moved to San Diego where the water was just awful - the worst I've ever tasted. Even broke college students had water delivered. When I moved to Oregon I was so impressed with the water - comes out of the tap sooo cold, clean, and delicious. I never thought I'd like water so much. I fill up my nalgene with regular old tapwater daily.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: ScarletB

                                                                                                  I too am in Puddletown and totally agree! It's mountain snowmelt that percolates into reservoirs, then flows downhill into our taps. I've a simple filter that gets rid of the chlorine. I can't imagine why people here waste their money on bottled water, especially the crap that isn't even springwater.

                                                                                                  It's soft, suitable even for placing in batteries.

                                                                                                  1. re: Leonardo

                                                                                                    Yes! Portland water is the best. I have no idea whatsoever why folks buy bottled water in Portland. They could make a mint bottling Portland tap water and selling it all over the country.

                                                                                                    My hometown in Kansas has the worst water, I think. It tastes like mud year-round because it comes out of a really, really muddy flatland river. (They call it Verdigris because that's what color it is.)

                                                                                                2. I am surprised that not one post on this thread has mentioned the water pitcher filtration system made by PUR. Years ago when I researched the topic of water pitcher filters (before Chowhound existed), I read where it took longer for water to go through the PUR filters than the Brita filters and that they filtered the water more thoroughly.

                                                                                                  PUR now has a two-step filtration system for their filters for their Ultimate water pitchers. I believe that Brita has come out with a more advanced filtration system for its pitchers, too. PUR's filtration system reduces TTHMs. benzene, TCE, toxaphene, as well as lead, chlorine, and other chemicals.

                                                                                                  Less expensive water pitcher filters just reduce chlorine and a few other unwanted chemicals.

                                                                                                  The cost of water from these pitchers (Brita and PUR) are less expensive than the cost of bottled (and those in plastic containers) water, but I think more costly than filtered water in my local supermarket, the only one among the ten or so in my area, that comes from a big machine that filters water using reverse osmosis, ultraviolet light, and some other process. The water, last time I checked was .40/gallon. You use the same plastic container for refills.

                                                                                                  Like other posts on this board have mentioned, I do think about the waste of using the filters and then discarding them. I think these filters are meant to last about two months. They do add waste to the environment, but perhaps much less so than that created by all the plastic bottles and bottles from spring and distilled water.

                                                                                                  The water in parts of the southeastern Pennsylvania metropolitan area, particularly the western suburbs of Philadelphia tastes ok. Where I live the water is very hard, leaving a white film on pots and pans left to air dry, and a white film on shower curtains, but taste-wise has a clean non-mineral taste. That's one reason why I don't feel compelled to use PUR or Brita or drink spring or distilled water in my area.

                                                                                                  This topic can get even more bizarre in knowing that the skin is the largest organ (right word?) of the body, absorbing more from the external environment than any other organ. What happens when one swims in a heavily chlorinated swimming pool, or before and after submerging oneself in a heavily chemically treated whirlpool/jacuzzi, or by accident swallows a little bit of the chlorinated water in the pool? I always rinse my mouth out with plain water after I get out of the pool before swallowing any additional fluids. I was told by a doctor that the chlorinated water in my mouth from the pool wouldn't hurt. I just felt better rinsing.

                                                                                                  1. Interestingly enough, last night I was at an activity that involved a "taste test" of a number of products, with the aim of determining which product is which (e.g. Powerade versus Gatorade, Nabisco Premium saltines versus store brand, etc.) One of the two items I got wrong on this was the local tap water compared to bottled water (Arrowhead brand.) If it was the water in my apartment I'm reasonably certain I would be able to discern between the two, but this was from the better of the two local sources (well water) and I wasn't able to do so.

                                                                                                    1. Yes, I'm fine with tap water. Luckily I live in NYC, where the water has won taste tests.

                                                                                                      Whenever I see people carrying their own bottles of water, I'm appalled by the expense. And the thought of all that wasted plastic. And, although I know I'm in the minority...the implicit pretentiousness.

                                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Fida

                                                                                                        People are always surprised to find out that NYC has the best water in the country. It's because it comes from 100 miles away through one humanity's all-time great public works projects, the aqueduct. If you get bad water in New York, your building has bad pipes; the stuff in the system is amazing. I'm sure it's better than 3/4 of the bottled stuff (most of which is freaking tap water, from rather dubious taps).

                                                                                                        1. re: fnarf

                                                                                                          Similarly, the water in the Boston area (except for towns that refuse to pay to be part of the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority) comes from the Quabbin Reservoir 65 miles to our west, the world's largest man-made reservoir exclusively devoted to water supply. For which four beloved MAssachusetts towns gave up the ghost 80 years ago.

                                                                                                        2. re: Fida

                                                                                                          I carry bottled water, but the water is from my tap. I buy cheap water (for the bottles) a few times a year and reuse them until I either lose them or they fall apart.

                                                                                                          1. re: marcia

                                                                                                            I do the same thing! Store-brand half-liter bottles that I reuse until either they fall apart or I lose them or they get nasty. I just refill them with my local water, which is pretty good.

                                                                                                            1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                              Gosh, it's actually not safe to reuse those plastic bottles. They aren't dishwasher-safe, and they can both gather bacteria and leach chemicals from the plastic into the water you add. You are much better off using sports bottles that you can wash out and sanitize in the dishwasher or other hot water. That's what I do with my twice-filtered tap water.

                                                                                                              1. re: laurie

                                                                                                                I don't have a dishwasher. I rinse them out and refill them and put them back in the refrigerator till we use them again. Never have had a problem.

                                                                                                              2. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                Guys

                                                                                                                You may want to read this

                                                                                                                http://www.homefamily.net/index.php?/...

                                                                                                                Just a thought

                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                  Yup, that's exactly what I'm talking about. I use sports water bottles that are meant to be reused multiple times and can be sanitized in boiling hot water (eg, the dishwasher) after each use. Reusing the bottles that bottled water is sold in is quite risky. Revsharkie, you might not have experienced any problems that you've noticed, but the toxic chemicals that can leach from those bottles are potentially cancer-causing years on down the line. This isn't an urban myth--it's scientifically-verified fact.

                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                    thanks,this is very informative--I stopped buying bottled water because of the plastic bottles and plastic taste in the water.

                                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                      I don't see anything alarming in that report. A lot of might's and could's but nothing concrete.

                                                                                                              3. At my house, I have well water, which we like. However, the water of the town in which I work tastes like it's straight from the pond. Thank goodness we have a filter on the kitchen sink! When I'm out in restaurants in that town, I often forget until I take that first sip... and then I order a softdrink.

                                                                                                                I rarely buy bottled water, only when I'm already out and need something portable.

                                                                                                                My pennies,
                                                                                                                Alison

                                                                                                                1. Good old Boston-area tap water. Drink it, cook with it--unfiltered. Tasty as can be.

                                                                                                                  Although I do love fizzy water, and am very willing to pay for the fizz, I resent paying $1.25 for a bottle of unknowable-origin still-water out of a vending machine; but will do so at the gym when I forget my water bottle, else I would die.

                                                                                                                  Truly, who would have thought 15 or so years ago, when nearly the only bottled water anyone ever saw in USA was sparkling Perrier (and granted, that had a certain cachet, was imported and fizzy!), that a huge portion of our society would willingly, some even happily or proudly, pay for water? Aside from the horrible environmental implications (and I'm totally with Al Gore on the environment), it strikes me as a simply hugely successful marketing feat.

                                                                                                                  Oh well, there are oxygen bars too, so why not pay for water... Please pardon my running on--must be time for sleep!

                                                                                                                  Oh and-- I had read in "the guidebooks" that the water in Italy was especially wonderful, streaming down from the mountains as it does. The municipal water so clean that one can drink from any of the public fountains (I'm talking Trevi, not office-type bubblers). They were right: delicious, minerally and somehow seeming genlty effervescent (like a muscato)although it wasn't actgually effervescent at all. Just wonderful minerally refreshment!

                                                                                                                  1. Here in New Zealand, our water has fluoride added, and Im pretty sure it is unlawful for a county NOT to add fluoride. So we all have the best teeth in the world OK??
                                                                                                                    NOT...lolol I dont drink much water at all except in tea/coffee etc unless it is bottled and that comes from living for many years in Italy. I lived in the Alps and our tap water came from those mountains. Pure you'd think? Well, I saw a dead fox in one of the streams that fed our taps plus, we lived in an area that had a large fallout from Chernobyl so it was bottled for me. And cheap it was too which was even better.
                                                                                                                    The water here in NZ tastes pretty fine actually, if you like that kinda thing. :)
                                                                                                                    ( its better with Roses Lime Juice added...:) )

                                                                                                                    1. I don't understand small towns' obsession with bottled water. In Amherst, Wilton, Milford, Nashua and Hudson, NH the water is from nearby lakes and underground sources. There's no reason not to drink it unless someone's tinkering around with your pipes. Yet every office I've seen serves bottled water.

                                                                                                                      The Monadnock water company seems to agree; they also take water from Wilton from underground and distribute it in those ugly plastic bottles someone mentioned just above me. It's a big business, this bottled water.

                                                                                                                      1. I live out on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. I love our city water. It is tasteless and super cold. Used to live in the Florida keys... rank water that was pumped from Miami and chlorinated so heavily that when you opened the tap it almost overwhelmed you. It played havock on any hoses, elastic in clothes... I am so glad to have good, clean water. It is a gift.

                                                                                                                        1. I watched an episode of Alton Brown on this subject matter, and was very surprised. Needless to say, he has his quirky ways, but he is thorough. And, the show includes both bottled and tap water. If you get a chance, check it out on FTV.

                                                                                                                          1. We have good tap water at my home in Albany NY. At work, though, even though it's the same water system, it tends to be a bit heavy on the chlorine. We use a Brita filter there, which makes it taste fine. I only occasionally buy bottled water, when on the road. I agree with those who feel that the bottled water industry is having a negative environmental/energy impact. I was in Phoenix once, though, and do recall the tap water being bad enough so that I wouldn't drink it if I lived there.

                                                                                                                            1. Providence, RI? We've found the water in the restaurants (many) that comes from the taps some of the more unpleasanr we've ever experienced, and the same for S.E. Massachusetts, such as Fall River, MA where we live.

                                                                                                                              1. I'm in Florida, and we scrapped the salt water system recently when we read how environmentally damaging they could be. Instead, we now double-filter our water, using a reverse-osmosis system for all the water coming into the house, then a second stand-alone water filter in the kitchen that we use for our drinking and cooking water. OMG, you should see the yellow slime that collects in the filtration system! I love our drinking water now (and I drink a lot of it). Before we put in our two-part system, our water felt noticably "slimy" to me. . . .

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: laurie

                                                                                                                                  Florida tap water is HORRIBLE! It's chock full of minerals and it tastes disgusting... I'd say it was just our (old) apartment building, but if a restaurant gives me tapwater that's horrible too. Fortunately, if you run it through a Britta water filter, it tastes fine. I used to buy drinking water at the store but we got a filter jug instead and saved a fortune (not to mention not having to lug cartons of water bottles up the stairs...)

                                                                                                                                  (I come from Melbourne Australia, and the water there is just fine. Certainly drinkable anyway...)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Kajikit

                                                                                                                                    NYC water for me-but not soo good with the brown spots or cloudy coloring--then I use a Brita filter pitcher and this works for me. I used to have bottled water delivered but I stopped.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Kajikit

                                                                                                                                      That reminds me--there have been studies on the "pure" drinking water sold by the jug in stores, and in many cases, it contains more contaminates than tap water!

                                                                                                                                  2. Houston, Tx. Water's okay. Drinkable, and doesn't leave residue in the kettle.
                                                                                                                                    Austin Tx water's tastier, though.

                                                                                                                                    1. I grew up with VERY hard water that was often rusty looking but tasted OK. When I went to a dentist the first time out of our area, I could not understand why he was interrogating me on whether I drank lots of cola, tea, coffee, etc. I said no to all but could see he did not believe me. My teeth were dark from the water! They did clear up but everyone had the same color teeth. I do not think that flies anymore. This was in NW Indiana where cities fight to get the great Lake Michigan water.
                                                                                                                                      I live in the Western suburbs of Chicago and I do not get a water bill because I live in a condo. A friend happened to show me her water bill and I was agahst--every month they indicate that the water has trace amounts of Radium. No way do I drink tap now. I did not like it much before, either.

                                                                                                                                      1. My local city water tastes okay, but is *extremely* hard -- and the planned community we live in has a water softening station, which softens all the water that comes into the complex -- this saves them a mint on plumbing costs, but makes the tap water taste terrible -- very high chlorine and salinated. It won't bake bread, because the salinity and chlorination kill the yeast. And don't even talk to me about tea....

                                                                                                                                        So we buy bottled water -- most of the local grocery stores have RO water machines plumbed in, and you can buy city water that's been treated for 25 cents a gallon (more if you buy the bottle - we bring our own 5 gallon bottle).

                                                                                                                                        I don't particularly think bottled water is in general safer, and if we had straight city water, we probably wouldn't buy bottled water -- it's just the softened water tastes so terrible, and is bad for most cooking purposes. Though I haven't had to salt pasta cooking since we moved here. Ha!

                                                                                                                                        1. I live in Ventura, southern California. I almost never drink water. Yesterday I got a glass of tap water and it tasted exactly like how stream moss smells. Urk. I had been smelling it in the shower but thought it was my ancient drainage system. Nope - it's the water.

                                                                                                                                          1. LONG BEACH California tap water is very clear and fresh to me. I'm actually in Signal Hill but I think it's the same. I grew up next door in Lakewood and there's isn't that good.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Oh Robin

                                                                                                                                              I just moved to Austin from Houston. I think the tap water in Austin--at least the water at my house--tastes terrible. I am also having a problem with rust stains on my clothes. Do I need a water softener?

                                                                                                                                            2. The water out where I live is ok, but I dont drink it.

                                                                                                                                              We buy gallon jugs at the grocery store weekly for my wife, myself, and the cats(if Im not drinking tap water I will not subject them to it). FOr the baby we buy gallons of nursery water. It is nt a taste issue for me, but I like my water ice cold, and throwing a couple of gallons of water in the fridge gets it to a temperature water out of a sink cannot attain.

                                                                                                                                              1. Valcourt, Quebec in the Eastern townships has by far the best tasting tap water i have tasted. When my step-dad was working for Bombardier, I visited my mom and him and was floored with the taste of the tap water. Must be all the snow.

                                                                                                                                                Las Vegas has the worst water and it is very hard. The deposits stopped up our dishwasher and has a chemical taste.

                                                                                                                                                1. We live in Los Angeles County, in West Los Angeles, and our tap water tastes and smells chlorinated. We added a filter to the kitchen sink for drinking and cooking. So simple. No need to buy bottled water.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Our house is equipped with a reverse osmosis filtration system for our kitchen sink and refrigerator. Tap water is awful-too much chlorine. My husband just bought a water tester and tested the tap-279 whatever it's testing for -bottled water-170 whatever it's testing for and our filtered water-0. Acceptable level is anything under 500. I like our filtered water-very untasty.

                                                                                                                                                    1. We have public water and it's like drinking out of a swimming pool. We used to try the Brita, but it still tasted and smelled like ass. At this point, we are considering various iterations of filters (RO? whole house? dunno) even if we only have better water for showering and gardening. We currently use bottled spring water for all drinking, cooking, tea, espresso, etc. Which bothers me, but not as much as the awful public water.

                                                                                                                                                      1. Eugene, Oregon water is yummy...I grew up on So. Dak. water which was filled with minerals but good tasting ones, not sulphur, but it was hard, we had to soften it for everything but drinking. I live in the country with a well and that is even better than Eugene's water (chlorinated), so very sweet, we fill bottles of it for quenching our thirst at work. Las Vegas water was the worst I've tasted so far, will happily pay the $3 they charge for bottled on the strip.

                                                                                                                                                        1. My water is horrible! I have a Brita system and it does a pretty good job!! When I first moved to the city I thought there was something wrong with my coffee!! After, trying new beans I didn't know what was wrong then one day I had a glass of water it was terrible (BTW I grew up with well water, shared by 16 homes)! I got the BRITA stat! Coffee has been fine since! I don't find the hassle of bottled water worth it, I also don't have the Storage space!

                                                                                                                                                          1. In eastern South Dakota our water tastes terrible. Brita filters don't get rid of the metallic and chlorine taste. We finally bought a water distiller that we use for drinking water and to make coffee, tea, lemonade etc.

                                                                                                                                                            We were tired of the price, hassle and waste of bottled. A gallon of bottled is $1 and a 24 pack of individual bottles is around $8 unless you can find it on sale. I found some heavy clear plastic sports bottles at a big box store, we use those for taking water with.