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Do you drink bottled water (even if the tap water is safe)?

h
hsk Aug 19, 2008 07:48 PM

I never do unless unless I'm traveling and I don't trust the local water, and on occasion when I'm out and I forgot to bring a water bottle. At home, I just drink tap - I leave it in the fridge to get rid of the chlorine smell, otherwise the water tastes just fine. I know some mineral waters are perceived like wine and appreciated that way (not by me) but I'm more curious about generic bottled water - the stuff that beverage companies make using municipal tap water run through a reverse osmosis system. It seems awfully costly, from an environmental point of view, in energy for production, transport, plastics.

It seems others think so, too: in London, Ontario, sales of bottled water at all city-run facilities are going to be banned, and it appears other Canadian cities are considering it:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servle...

I'm curious whether anyone generally drinks bottled water when tap is safe, and if so, why.

  1. fresnohotspot Nov 21, 2008 05:18 AM

    The water here in Fresno used to taste so good all year long, then some pumps in the north end of town started to show unsafe levels of this or that. I don't know if government regs changed or if there was a real risk from the underground supply. Anyway every 6 months or so, they go through a chlorination process and the water just sucks for a few weeks. That's when I break down and buy bottled water. Otherwise the rest of the year I use tap water, and when I golf I usually refill one of the large Gatorade bottles with tap at home, chill it overnight and carry onto the course.

    1. jgg13 Nov 21, 2008 05:17 AM

      One ding on plastic is the fact that estrogen like compounds leech out from our plastics. That being said, it is unlikely to have much of an effect on people, and I wouldn't make it my deciding factor (it doesn't stop me), but if one was already on the fence and/or sensitive to estrogen (e.g. E sensitive breast cancer), it could help make the deciison.

      1. a
        AngelSanctuary Nov 20, 2008 04:13 PM

        I drink bottled, specifically Evian...I don't know, other water just tastes awful to me and it's not because it's expensive, I've had waaaay more expensive bottled water before and Evian still tastes loads better.

        And I never drink unboiled tap water...can't believe so many people do that...

        1. d
          dolores Nov 16, 2008 05:20 AM

          >>I'm curious whether anyone generally drinks bottled water when tap is safe,

          A resounding no. Why would I? Sheesh.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dolores
            kprange Nov 16, 2008 06:39 AM

            A couple of my co workers and I actually trade off bringing water in from home to avoid buying water. The water where we work tastes horrible and they don't recycle - I feel better bringing in good water from home and not wasting and not adding to the landfills.

          2. Sam Fujisaka Nov 15, 2008 02:42 PM

            The tap water here in Cali is very good (Colombia has one of the best water endowments in the world). I just keep some pitchers of plain tap in the ref.

            I was just in Washington, DC, for 11 days and drank the tap water - strong chlorine after-taste.

            On the other hand, I do a lot of fieldwork in remote areas around the globe: I make sure the team has plenty of bottled water along; and I get the gallon jugs for my hotel room consumption.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sam Fujisaka
              h
              hsk Nov 15, 2008 05:18 PM

              Good to know. I drank bottled water in Colombia bcuz I wasn't sure, but with local beer at the same price as bottled water I didn't drink THAT much water :-).

            2. Passadumkeg Sep 1, 2008 03:37 PM

              I'm just an old greenie curmudgeon. Bottled water is environmentally bad ad the plastic bottles leach into your body. I just ask for a slice of lemon to kill off tastes. We have great well water. When traveling in the third world, I just substitute beer. My wife ridiculed me for brushing my teath with a beer rinse in Mexico 36 years ago. Revenge is sweet. Tourista hit her in the depths of Carlsbad Caverns. After drinking the muck w/ halezone tablets in it in Viet Nam, I'm not too fussy. You do know what WC Fields said about water? "Ah water, never touch the stuff. Fish go the toilet in it and make love in it." ( the PG 13 version.) My what a fussy nation we are.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Passadumkeg
                Scargod Sep 1, 2008 04:00 PM

                Aye. Us old curmudgeons are still alive! The fish drink what I pee into.

                1. re: Scargod
                  d
                  dingey Sep 3, 2008 03:06 PM

                  Right on, y'all. At work we have bottled water, and I was completely amazed one week when we ran out before the water delivery dude was due to show up. Essentially, this meant that my co-workers needed to go one or two days without the giant jugs of bottled water. You'd have thought that a nuclear bomb had fallen....I was amazed at the number of co-workers who went into shock, wandering around all hollow-eyed with their enormo-thermos-cups flapping about on the end of their dead arms. A number of them FREAKED OUT when they saw me fill a cup FROM THE TAP. "Y....You're not going to drink that, are you?"

                  "Yep. It's all we drink at home, too. " And I commenced to chug, while they stood in awe and waited for me to burst into flames.

                  Funnily, I don't seem to get sick as often as they do.

                  Bottled water is an incredible commercial scam and a huge waste of resources, as stated previously by others far more eloquent than myself.

                  1. re: dingey
                    c
                    Chefsquire Nov 15, 2008 10:24 AM

                    As I said earlier in the post, my boyfriend refuses to give it up. It is completely a marketing scam of the 90s. Our parents grew up drinking tap and are fine, so why all of a sudden the fuss? His actual response when I said tap was just as good - "well then why do they sell all the bottled water and filters" ::::smacks head against wall:::::

              2. Scargod Sep 1, 2008 01:33 PM

                I traveled in Europe and never purchased bottled water. I would not in the US except for convenience (like I was driving and needed some water in the car to sip on).
                I have been fortunate: We have our own well and everyone remarks about how good it tastes. I do double filter it. We fill up bottles and take it with us. We virtually never buy bottled water. My last water also came from a well but had chlorine added, since it had to meet some city standards. It was OK, but occasionally smelled like chlorine. But in the Dallas area, where most water comes from a lake... it can get pretty rank in the summertime. That's when I would drink Evian. I like the flavor of it. I don't know how to describe it other than it seems thick and rich.
                The best water I can remember came from a well deep in sandy farm land near Elgin, Texas. In the summer it was soooo cool!

                1. c
                  chipman Aug 29, 2008 06:09 PM

                  It's amazing that the city, Los Angeles, who has probably the best drinking water in the country is also the biggest use of bottled water.
                  And which special interest group started this 8 glasses of water a day b.s.?
                  I will say, I do use Crystal Geyser in my espresso machine. But that is only to slow down the calcifying.

                  1. s
                    sally from LA Aug 29, 2008 10:32 AM

                    I drink bottled water at home because of the heavy chlorination and characteristic taste in my water, which is especially obvious in tea. This is despite the fact that my local water district (Pasadena, CA) is always proclaiming the quality and purity of our water. Interestingly, all bottled waters are not equal, with some having a subtly unpleasant aftertase which is almost as bad as the tapwater. For my taste, Crystal Geyser is the most neutral tasting still water and is a good price. And I love Badoit carbonated water with meals.

                    1. Axalady Aug 29, 2008 07:15 AM

                      We have several Brita filter pitchers that we use. After being assaulted by the smell of chlorine one too many times filling up the coffee pot first thing in the morning I decided to buy the pitchers. We stopped using plastic bottles several years ago. We have sports bottles that we use if we need to take water with us.

                      1. ccbweb Aug 29, 2008 07:01 AM

                        We drink filtered tap water at home and use a SodaClub carbonator to make seltzer. We have some reusable bottles that we carry around. At restaurants I'm fine with tap water though if I'm out and about and run out of the water I brought with me I'll purchase a bottle of water rather than use a public water fountain. That's more out of concern for the cleanliness of the fountain itself rather than the water coming out of it. I have a health condition that makes it far more likely that I could have problems from the sorts of things that grow or are existent on such fountains.

                        If there were any question about the safety/potability of tap water, I'd not hesitate to get bottled.

                        1. Chew on That Aug 22, 2008 09:35 AM

                          I drink water that comes from my refrigerator dispenser...same thing as from the sink but it makes me feel better. Bottled water is for on the go.

                          1. sebetti Aug 21, 2008 10:27 AM

                            I think that if you want to make sure that you can be a chowhound for the rest of your life and ensure that your children can be chowhounds too, you’re going to have to realize that environmental concerns impact our food sources greatly. We’re just now finding out that there are for more ‘dead zones’ in the ocean than originally believed. And the plastic garbage dump the size of Texas floating in the Pacific mentioned above really does exist (it takes a week to sail through, how cool is that!).

                            Obviously, we can’t just quit plastic but we can make better choices and use less. So yes, go for the gallon-sized containers, refill smaller bottles from larger, and try to recycle what you have. Just don’t buy the case of 24 18 oz. bottles from Costco and consume 8 bottles a day and then toss them in the garbage which is really what most people do.

                            I’ve worked in environmental labs testing for contaminents in soil, water, and air so I know of lots of places in many cities and towns across the nation where you should never buy property. I’ve worked for consulting firms and reviewed data for wetland areas, rivers, and coastal regions and I’ve added to the list of places I’d never move to nor, more importantly, raise my child there.
                            I’m not a hippy, I’m not an eco-warrior, and I certainly could do a lot more, personally, to create less waste. But I have seen an awful lot of numbers over the years and we really, really do live in a dirty world and we’re making it a lot worse.

                            If you want good food you need clean soil and clean water. You know, the basics.

                            1. marmite Aug 21, 2008 09:54 AM

                              I drink both NY tap and bottled. Individual bottles are easier to keep in the fridge and freezer and grab when I go out. Once in the car I never remember to take the bottle with me, since it's usually empty by the time I get to wherever I'm going. But when I'm home or at others' homes I'll always drink tap.

                              1. Davwud Aug 21, 2008 04:17 AM

                                About 10 years ago here in TO during the summer a funny thing would happen to our water. It would smell. It had the smell of water that had corn boiled in it.
                                I started drinking bottled at that time and when I got married we bought a Brita. We love our jug and it's about all I drink as far as water goes. We have Nalgene bottles we fill up. The one exception is, when I'm down yonder I buy bottled. I should get a Brita but in between visits I'm afraid it'd vanish.

                                I should also point out that I'm very much anti bottled water with some exceptions. See mine above. I think a heavy tax should be levied on it.

                                DT

                                1. Cowprintrabbit Aug 20, 2008 11:25 PM

                                  The tap water for our town comes from a well, and well, smells like well water; even though it's perfectly clean and safe. I don't drink enough to keep hydrated if it smells bad so I finally broke down and started buying bottled because I got sick of having to run everything through the Brita. We get two reuseable 19L bottles a month, so I feel like it's not as bad for the environment as individual bottles.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Cowprintrabbit
                                    ted Aug 27, 2008 08:23 PM

                                    To me, in your case, it's as much an economic issue as anything. You're probably paying as much for your 5-gal cooler bottle as you pay your utility for 750 gal.

                                    You could put in a filter and filtered water tap to get out the smell (assuming carbon's all you need) and you'd be ahead in short order.

                                    I have no problem with people running a filter on their tap water to get out the chlorine. It's there to make the water safe, but we don't have to love how it tastes.

                                  2. j
                                    jeffreak Aug 20, 2008 06:18 PM

                                    I used to work at a water district in California and one of the things people should know is that bottled water is treated as a beverage and has to meet a much less stringent FDA testing requirements whereas municipal tap water has to meet federal standards that are 10x more stringent IIRC. Also, a lot of bottled water is taken from municipal water supplies in areas that are not known to be pristine environments. A part of our jurisdiction was in Union City, an industrial town, and a bottled water company I will not name here basically paid us to draw water out of that groundwater basin. Don't be fooled by the pictures of the mountains and trees, your water could actually be from a parking lot.

                                    Secondly, your perception of the drinking water is partially influenced by what you drank growing up. The water that we served was a mix of water from Hetch Hetchy (a very clean source of water near Yosemite), groundwater and desalinized water. Because we were close to the bay, the groundwater had higher dissolved solids. People who drank the water in another town that was purely from the Hetch Hetchy thought our water tasted gross and vice versa. Knowing these things, I drink tap water, filtered through Brita (I live in an old building so that is mainly a concession to the plumbing). But I live in San Francisco and know where the water is from whereas there are a couple places where I would consider bottled because I know about their water quality issues.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: jeffreak
                                      h
                                      hsk Aug 20, 2008 11:21 PM

                                      "whereas municipal tap water has to meet federal standards"

                                      According to swsidejim it doesn't look like they have to, as long as they say so on the water bill :)

                                    2. MMRuth Aug 20, 2008 05:02 PM

                                      Both my husband and I like sparkling water, so we buy the WF 365 brand sparking Italian mineral water. We also use a Brita filter for flat water, even though I know NYC water is great. I think it's better filtered when making coffee, tea, stock, etc. I do agree about the environmental issues, which, I will confess, I only really started thinking about since seeing various posts about it on CH. And, on occasion, well, I do like like Badoit, and even Vittel.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: MMRuth
                                        LNG212 Aug 21, 2008 06:14 AM

                                        My DH and I also like sparkling water. We decided to get SodaClub to make our own (no more plastic bottles, lugging home from the store). We too are in Manhattan and think the water is pretty great. Our concession to the old pipes in our very old building is a Brita filter. So we use the filtered water for drinking flat water, for coffee, and for making seltzer with SodaClub (and our kitty seems to prefer the filtered water too). We also fill bottles to take with us if we are in the park or whatever. We will buy bottled water if we are somewhere else - airports, other places.

                                      2. jfood Aug 20, 2008 03:02 PM

                                        Jfood drinks Poland Spring from the hot/cold dispenser as well as tap water from his well. And to those who think there is no difference in bottled waters, well there is. Panna, San Pelli, evian, Fiji, they all have different flavors, different mineral content, different fizzies. Those who do not drink liquor and wine and focus on water can develop different likes and dislikes. Never serve jfood Saratoga, he does not like it.

                                        Jfood would NEVER drink water overseas. Let's carve out those countries that do not filter and process their water properly and focus on the "good" countries. Even there, your stomach is not used to the different stuff in their tap water. Why take the chance.

                                        In the US you will find various taste differences. Personally jfood finds the Philly water horrible and the NYC water great. And when jfood travels he always looks for the bottles, it's a comfort zone to his tastebuds and stomach.

                                        Jfood does get a laugh out of many posts that state Aquafina and Desani is just tap water through a sieve and what a rip-off, yet these same people swear by their little piece of plastic Brita filter to make them pure H2O. Just so you know the closest thing to pure H2O you can buy is distilled water, and if that was all you drank you would get sick. Now let's look at the wonderful world of Brita and these are from their site

                                        1 - "BRITA Pitchers eliminate 99 percent of lead and reduce copper, chlorine, sediment and bad odors, all of which may be found in tap water. The BRITA water filter used with this product also softens tap water without adding sodium. " - Hmmm reducing solids makes it softer, a little redundent.
                                        2 - "The BRITA water filter used with a BRITA water pitcher does not add or remove sodium." - Let's see using that logic it does not add or remove marinara sauce either
                                        3 - Jfood loves this one "The BRITA water filters used in BRITA Pitchers are intended to be used only with municipally treated tap water or well water that is regularly tested to be microbiologically safe." How the heck does the filter know whether the water is municipal or jfood tests his well water...Yo Jfood, I ain't doing nothing til you get that water guy in to test the water. OK it won't remove Legionnaire's Disease, fair enough.
                                        These go on and on. But the filter does remove a limited amount of stuff and if people feel better using it be jfood's guest, but jfood will take coke/pepsi's RO systems thanthis piece of plastic.

                                        But jfood will NEVER take water from a public water fountain. jfood has seen animal lick from it, parents changing diapers in them and cleaning those cute little bottom in them and people snuggle their water bottle right up against them after surping right out of the bottle. Disgusting.

                                        Poland Spring for Jfood if you do not mind.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: jfood
                                          h
                                          hsk Aug 20, 2008 11:17 PM

                                          Brita is activated carbon. It removes chlorine and some other chemicals, but it doesn't remove pathogens. I don't think Brita claims to make your water safe to drink, just to make your already safe to drink water taste better.

                                          RO is not much different from distilled water, it strips the good naturally occuring minerals we need for proper nutrition. It also takes 3-4 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of RO. If you know your tap water is safe, I'd think a Brita is a better way to go. OTOH if you know (or suspect) that your tap water isn't safe, I'd absolutely go with RO or bottled mineral water from a safe source.

                                          1. re: hsk
                                            jfood Aug 21, 2008 03:26 AM

                                            Some clarifications.

                                            RO is completely different from distilled. You will never find an RO manufacturer claiming the output approaches pure H2O. The solids PPM allowed in potable water is significantly above ZERO. To achieve a distilled equivilent that only semiconductor plants require (some others may) takes the RO output and then has to go through a second desal process. Likewise in a good RO plant it is 2 gallons of salt water for 1 gallon of clean; not 3-4. Home machines may be different if thats what the 3-4 addresses.

                                        2. tsays Aug 20, 2008 02:52 PM

                                          When we lived in Scottsdale, we always had bottled water. Although the water was described as "safe" it could also be described as "nasty tasting". I never loved picking up bottled water, I always kind of felt like it was ridiculous to pay more for water than gas, but I did it. Imagine my relief upon moving to Hawaii and finding that the water here is not only safe, but palatable. I feel better knowing we generate less trash too. The water in Hawaii is still not as good as Denver's water =) , but I am glad to be able to drink out of the tap again!

                                          1. farmersdaughter Aug 20, 2008 12:28 PM

                                            I live in San Francisco and we have pretty good tasting water (and pretty safe water from what I understand). I can't speak for what happens in the pipes from the time it travels from the facility to my house, but I'm willing to live with that risk. Therefore, my husband and I drink tap water filtered through a Brita pitcher, and when we are out and about, we take SIGG water bottles filled with our filtered tap water. We do have bottled water in our earthquake kit, which we rotate through every couple years. (We use the large, gallon size bottles of cheap water in the earthquake kit.) In local restaurants, we never order bottled water, and we provide guests at dinner parties with whatever their personal preference is -- filtered tap, Panna, or Pellegrino. When traveling in the U.S. and Canada we generally drink tap water, but when outside those two countries, we generally tend to drink bottled water almost exclusively.

                                            1. dave_c Aug 20, 2008 08:39 AM

                                              In theory municipal water is safe, but there's a lot of piping between the facility and my house.

                                              In fact, the Seattle School District tested their drinking fountain and found lead levels exceeded federal guidelines. Some of the fountains still tested high after a 30 second flush. It's not due to the water coming out of the treatment plant, but the pipes.

                                              I feel the extra filtration and reverse osmosis is worth the extra cost for bottled water.

                                              1. f
                                                FrankJBN Aug 20, 2008 07:31 AM

                                                Where are all the bottled water buyers? My supermarket has an entire aisle filled with various brands of water. Someone must buy them.

                                                Not me. I've been telling the Evian - naivE joke for decades.

                                                1. Miss Needle Aug 20, 2008 07:04 AM

                                                  No. I do use a water filter, though. DH continued to get Fiji water all the time even though we had filtered water at home. I talked about the environmental benefits of drinking filtered water. He soon stopped after I did a blind tasting test and found out that he preferred the taste of the filtered over Fiji.

                                                  For a water bottle, I use one of those camping water bottles. Because they have wide mouths, they're really easy to clean. The only time I drink bottled water is if I'm outside without my camping bottle and thirsty. And if I'm in the mood for fizz, that's when I'll get seltzer, Perrier, etc.

                                                  Unfortunatley, at DH's work, they only have Poland Spring water bottles. He's suggested to them that they just get a water cooler and people can just fill up their mugs. His suggestion was vetoed because the head guy's wife said water coolers were "tacky."

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Miss Needle
                                                    j
                                                    jesoda Aug 20, 2008 07:17 AM

                                                    I've been refilling my sport bottle for years at the tap. Environmentally friendly and its free.

                                                    1. re: Miss Needle
                                                      c
                                                      Chefsquire Nov 15, 2008 10:20 AM

                                                      I think I am going to have to copy you on the blind tasting! That is an excellent idea. I have been harassing my boyfriend about the waste of his purchase of cases of water every week -he claims it tastes better. Will have to do this!

                                                    2. h
                                                      HarryK Aug 19, 2008 11:46 PM

                                                      I, as well as my friends in Philly all do the same thing. Get a 20 oz soda bottle, fill it with tap, keep it in the frig, take it out when we go. Period.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: HarryK
                                                        e
                                                        Ericandblueboy Aug 20, 2008 06:32 AM

                                                        We're lazy and waste money on bottled water.

                                                      2. purple goddess Aug 19, 2008 08:18 PM

                                                        No. I am blessed to live in Melbourne, Australia which apparently has the best drinking water in the world. I carry a refillable bottle around, and just top it up from the tap.

                                                        When I am overseas I drink tap water, unless it's somewhere notorious for bad water quality, in which case I boil up the tap water (with one of those little immersion tong thingies) and use that to brush my teeth. As much as possible I don't buy bottled water ANYWHERE, as the empty bottles are one of the major contributors to the "floating plastic island", twice the size of Texas in the (?) Pacific

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: purple goddess
                                                          s
                                                          swsidejim Aug 20, 2008 07:11 AM

                                                          Im not sure how you can be confident of another countries water supply, most of the times it is not widely published info, and not known outside of the locals. The tap water in the town Iive in fails EPA tests for radium levels a couple of months each year, and the only reason I know about it is that I read the fine print on the back of my water bill. I dont use tap water to cook, or drink, but buy 1 gallon jugs of water @ the store each week. Its better to be safe than risk cancer, or other health issues.

                                                          I dont think you can boil radium, and other things that some tap waters contain, out of water.

                                                          1. re: swsidejim
                                                            d
                                                            Dan G Aug 20, 2008 08:19 AM

                                                            How can you be sure that the bottled water you are buying is any better than what comes out of a tap?

                                                            I think that the bottled water industry is the biggest scam in the world - steal a natural resource, package it in a non-renewable resource, and make people think that they have to have it.

                                                            1. re: Dan G
                                                              s
                                                              swsidejim Aug 20, 2008 08:27 AM

                                                              I highly doubt the bottled water has radium in it, since most bottled water is filtered, and some cleaned using reverse osmosis. Either way its worth it to me to get the gallon bottles just to be on the safe side.

                                                              If the local water wasnt suspect at times, I would use the tap water for cooking, or the rare glass of water I do drink.

                                                              The point of my post was to advise this individual that water safety info is not always very easy to find, I had to read the fine print on the back of my water bill to find out our local issue.

                                                              1. re: Dan G
                                                                oakjoan Aug 22, 2008 12:18 PM

                                                                Plus, the plastic bottles the water industry uses are not only making up a goodly portion of our landfill (as well as the floating plastic islands in the oceans of the world), but leeching into the water they hold.

                                                                I use a replaceable water filter. Dunno if that's any better, but I haven't yet read anything against it.

                                                                Anyway, I think pretty soon we're all going to have to subscribe to the George Carlin Philosophy of Sanitation - he ate things that have fallen onto the floor on principle...says he wants to keep his immune system on the alert at all times so it's best to give it a work-out every day.

                                                                I know, I know, he recently died...

                                                              2. re: swsidejim
                                                                h
                                                                hsk Aug 20, 2008 10:55 PM

                                                                I'd consider my tap water failing EPA tests a for radium levels a couple months each year to be a very good reason for drinking bottled water! Filtration alone doesn't remove it, and boiling, if anything, concentrates it. RO does (which is probably what is used for your 1 gallon jugs, unless they truck it in from another area).

                                                                How does your town get away with it? Aren't there laws requiring potable municipal piped water in your area?

                                                                1. re: hsk
                                                                  s
                                                                  swsidejim Aug 21, 2008 05:29 AM

                                                                  They are building a new water filtration plant(the town is only about 5,000 people. I could install a reverse osmosis system @ my house, but that costs a few thousand dollars, and takes up some space in the basement.

                                                                  Like I said the only way I found out was by reading a flyer they sent out a few years ago, and by reading some very small print on the back of my water bill. The water comes in just above the recommended EPA levels for radium.

                                                                  It does get expensive when I make a big pot of pasta, or something else, to use the gallon jugs to fill up my stock pot.

                                                            2. Veggo Aug 19, 2008 08:10 PM

                                                              I am baffled that smart people in NYC, Boston, and Denver, 3 cities with almost perfect public water supplies, either succumb to clever marketing or are too lazy to refill a bottle, and buy the bottled, often imported, stuff. I tip my hat to my friend Chips Berry in Colorado, who operates the best and most forward thinking water supply system in the US, as head of the Denver Water Board.

                                                              9 Replies
                                                              1. re: Veggo
                                                                c
                                                                cimui Aug 20, 2008 01:19 PM

                                                                actually, even famed nyc tap water sometimes has some nasty stuff in it. every once in a while, you get alerts on the news about avoiding tap water b/c x or y was spilled into it, or b/c above-safe levels of bacteria Z were detected -- or you avoid it out of common sense b/c what's coming out of the faucet is brown (i.e. when they do work on the building water heater, a pipe cracks underground somewhere, etc...).

                                                                i happily drink nyc tap water about half the time out of laziness. (i even did it occasionally in india to no apparent ill effect.) however, if i were at all clever about it and non-lazy, i'd definitely boil and filter through a brita.

                                                                1. re: cimui
                                                                  Veggo Aug 20, 2008 02:28 PM

                                                                  Of the water that is piped to NYC from the Adirondack reservoirs, a fantastic percentage, upwards of 40, is never metered. Which means that much is leaking out of the system (called exfiltration). Wasteful, not usually hazardous, and almost impossible to repair, physically and financially, for NYC. The opposite of exfiltration, infiltration of external substances into a plumbing system, can occur and is definity problematic.

                                                                  1. re: cimui
                                                                    i
                                                                    irishnyc Aug 27, 2008 09:11 PM

                                                                    I must be living in a bubble because in all my 36 years here, I remember maybe one time when I was a kid that we had to boil water. In all my adult life I certainly don't recall any alert to not drink the water in the 5 boros.

                                                                    As for the brown water, yeah that's common here, but you see it and know not to drink it. And it's gone in a few hours.

                                                                    I do drink tapwater, and use water bottles at home and for local travel, but I am wary of water when I'm away from home, especially if I'm not familiar with the location. However, i don't care for Dasani or Aquafina - and those are the ones that are just purified local water. No thanks.

                                                                    1. re: cimui
                                                                      m
                                                                      MrsT Aug 29, 2008 07:13 AM

                                                                      I stopped buying bottled water recently. It costs too much in the long run, and if you think about it how many of those bottles are really being recycled? Instead I now put my BRITA pitcher to use and fill up my Sigg (I'm still somewhat of a slave to marketing) to carry around with me. I live in NYC, I doubt if I get cancer it's going to be from drinking tap water.

                                                                      Remember, Evian spelled backwards is "NIAVE"

                                                                      1. re: MrsT
                                                                        thew Aug 29, 2008 10:40 AM

                                                                        well "naive" - but who's counting

                                                                        1. re: thew
                                                                          m
                                                                          MrsT Aug 29, 2008 05:35 PM

                                                                          sorry... wrote this before coffee.

                                                                    2. re: Veggo
                                                                      l
                                                                      lgphil Aug 21, 2008 09:35 AM

                                                                      I find the water in both Boston (this was a few years ago) and Denver to have off tastes which I do not like. When I visit, I drink bottled becasue of that. I think if I lived there, I would get used to it,and drink tap as I do at home.

                                                                      Not lazy or marketing, just chowishness.

                                                                      1. re: Veggo
                                                                        s
                                                                        sarinola Sep 25, 2008 08:15 PM

                                                                        One reason that Bostonians may not drink tap water is because the old city pipes have lead in them. The water is fine but the pipes are not.

                                                                        1. re: Veggo
                                                                          c
                                                                          Chefsquire Nov 15, 2008 10:18 AM

                                                                          I wholeheartedly agree. Even if bottled water may be slightly more pure, you are paying for the bottle. I am willing to risk the .0000001% chance of drinking something bad in tap water in return for protecting the environment and save money. Bottled water bottles are one of the biggest sources of plastic waste in the US.

                                                                          Its ironic that many of the people I see at grocery stores have cases of water in their carts also have Velveeta and Oscar Meyer bologna in there. You will put that crap in your body but not water?

                                                                        2. Jacquilynne Aug 19, 2008 07:53 PM

                                                                          If those facilities will instead offer accessible, potable, portable water that's not in bottles, then that's fine. But one drinking fountain next to the washrooms is not an adequate source of water for a building full of people.

                                                                          The value for me, in bottled water, is not so much the water as the bottle -- it's something I can carry around, put the cap back on, etc. I don't normally buy bottled water by the individual bottle, and I often refill my bottles, so even if I lived in London, I wouldn't be affected by this very much, but I still think it's probably a bad idea. If you won't sell someone a bottle of water in a public building, they're not going to go in search of a water fountain, they're going to buy a coke.

                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Jacquilynne
                                                                            h
                                                                            hsk Aug 20, 2008 11:29 PM

                                                                            "they're not going to go in search of a water fountain, they're going to buy a coke"

                                                                            That's a good point. I think banning water sales in city-run facilities was more of a symbolic gesture than something that was expected to accomplish much (I'll bet London doesn't have any tax-paying, voter-employing bottling plants).

                                                                            1. re: Jacquilynne
                                                                              kprange Nov 15, 2008 03:50 PM

                                                                              What did we do before we started paying for water? We are just filling our landfills with these bottles. People in Canada are very willing to recycle, and try as a whole to live a greener life. I wish our country could be more like them and stop the bottled water. Maybe there aren't drinking fountains because people drink bottled water - businesses might put more fountains or other substitutes in if bottled water takes a hike.

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