- Purified Water vs. Spring Water: Which Is Best?
- What Is Purified Water?
- What Is Spring Water?
- What Type of Water Should You Be Drinking?
- Think Spring Water is Pure and Clean? Think Again
- WHAT IS SPRING WATER AND HOW IS IT SO SAFE?
- What Is ‘Raw’ Water, and Should You Drink It?
- A Case for Raw Water
- The Dangers of Drinking Raw Water
- Ensure That Your Drinking Water Is Safe
- Dirty water
- Crude microbiology
- Tap Water
- Spring Water
- Distilled Water
- Filtered Water
- Purified Water
- Schedule Purified Bottled Water Delivery in MD, DC, or VA
- Department of Health
- Don’t Drink Water from Roadside Springs
- That spring water might not be as safe as you think!
- Why should I stop drinking spring or untreated surface water?
- Do you really want to drink that water?
- Ask for help!
- Purified Water vs. Spring Water: Which Is Better?
- Purified Water
- How Purified Water is Made
- Is Steam-Distilled Water Classified as Purified Water?
- Benefits of Purified Water
- Spring Water
- How Spring Water is Made
- Benefits of Spring Water
- So which is better between spring water and purified water?
- Looking for Purified or Spring Water?
- What Is Raw Water?
- Why can unfiltered water be dangerous?
- Live Water founder Mukhande Singh. Live Water
- Why is there fluoride in tap water?
- What about lead? Genetha Campbell carries free water distributed at the Lincoln Park United Methodist Church in Flint, Michigan. AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Purified Water vs. Spring Water: Which Is Best?
By now, most Americans are relatively aware of the fact that plain tap water isn’t exactly great for them. This isn’t just the case in communities like Flint, Michigan that have experienced a serious catastrophe when it comes to local water conditions. Even in cities where the water is considered clean and 100% safe to drink, tap water can and often does contain toxic substances like arsenic, mercury, fluoride, and more.
That said, it’s not surprising that more people than ever are making the switch to bottled water instead. The most popular choices are spring water and purified water, but is one of those a better choice than the other? Most important of all, are there other solutions to consider that might be better than either of those? Let’s take a closer look at the answers to those questions and more.
What Is Purified Water?
Before a given bottled water can be marketed and sold as “purified water,” overall impurity levels need to be reduced to 10 parts per million or less. Contrary to popular belief, purified water is not the same thing as filtered water. All water is subjected to some form of filtration before distribution, plain tap water included. Purified water, on the other hand, is also treated to remove additional substances like pathogens and chemicals.
That said, you can rest easy in the knowledge that any commercial purified water meets significantly stricter EPA purity standards than those applied to standard drinking water, tap water included. However, consumers should be aware that because of these strict standards, purified water may come from almost any source, up to and including springs or existing tap water systems.
What Is Spring Water?
Spring water is commonly referred to by several different names, including well water, ground water, and artesian water. It is formally defined by the EPA as water that originates from an underground aquifer. Other variables attached to your standard bottle of spring water may vary. Spring water may or may not be accessed via a well. It also may or may not undergo additional treatment before distribution. However, spring water is always collected at the point where it flows or otherwise arrives at the surface of the structure in which it resides.
Those who prefer spring water consider the natural filtration process to be preferable to the alternatives. Spring water is also often richer in beneficial natural minerals than other types of water. Even so, it’s important to realize that while spring water is required to meet basic EPA purity standards, there are fewer guarantees in place as to the quality of the water itself.
What Type of Water Should You Be Drinking?
Both purified water and bottled spring water are considered safe to drink according to the EPA. Both are probably going to be several cuts above water you’d get straight from the tap. That said, which is the best option between the two is mostly a matter of personal preference, availability, and convenience.
Those who prefer spring water often do so because they like that it contains natural minerals. Not only does that make the water more healthful than it otherwise might be, but many think minerals improve flavor as well. On the other hand, those who prefer purified water really like the strict standards imposed on the quality of what they’re drinking. Purified water is often also cheaper and more readily available than spring water.
Even so, there’s an option that trumps any kind of bottled water, including spring and purified – home-filtered water. What bottled water companies don’t want you to know is that the bottles themselves contain hazardous chemicals that can leach their way into the water they contain. Such chemicals have been linked to serious health conditions like cancer, hormonal imbalance, and more.
By investing in a reverse osmosis filter or another high-performance water filter for your home, you can enjoy continuous access to water that’s every bit as clean, delicious, and good for you as even the purest bottled alternative. However, you’ll get to do so without worrying about exposure to additional chemicals associated with plastic commercial bottles. Since the filters are installed right there at the point of access, they’re super convenient, as well. Plus, filtered water is a lot easier on your pocketbook, over the long haul. Explore the possibilities today!
Think Spring Water is Pure and Clean? Think Again
What do you envision when the words “spring water” are said? Do you picture a secluded natural spring of unmatched beauty with clear water tumbling over rocks? That’s exactly what bottled water companies want you to see.
The truth, however, is that bottled spring water doesn’t get to you naturally but largely by petroleum.
First, bulk water is transported from remote sources. The water is then processed and packaged into bottles made from petroleum products. Packaged water is then shipped around the globe, and, finally, across town before ending up as one of the more than 25 billion water bottles that end up in our ever-clogging landfills each year. Experts estimate that manufacturing a one-year supply of plastic water bottles consumes enough oil to fuel 1.5 million cars for an entire year and generates 2 ½ million tons of carbon emission – not to mention the environmental costs of transporting the bottles.
Spring Water vs. Purified Water
Let’s first look at the differences between spring water and purified water because they are frequently lumped together. Spring water is water that comes from springs in the ground. It’s sometimes referred to as well water or artesian water. It’s collected when it rises to the surface.
Springs can form anywhere there is rock formation, most commonly limestone in the U.S. Typically, water is clear when it bubbles to the surface but can discolor depending on the mineral composition of the soil surrounding it. And while spring water can be safe to drink, the Environmental Protection Agency requires that bottled spring water must be filtered and tested for sediment.
Purified water, on the other hand, has a strict set of requirements to meet. Any and all impurities in purified water must not exceed 10 parts per million. Interestingly enough, bottled purified water does not measure microbes. Fortunately, all Pure Water Technology products take an extra step in the purification process to eliminate microbes!
As a result of filtration, purified water can come from any source including water from springs or even taps.
Many Americans are now investing in high quality purification systems for their office drinking water supply. And the top grade spring water … the ones advertised from a very specific source … are often too costly to use every day.
A Bottleless Water Cooler Can Save You Money and Keep Your Employees Healthy
You can ditch the worry of whether the water you supply to your employees is safe and clean to drink by switching to a bottleless water cooler system.
Not only do bottleless water coolers remove the plastic and petroleum from the process, but the right water purification solution can provide a much higher quality of water.
WHAT IS SPRING WATER AND HOW IS IT SO SAFE?
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A spring is a water resource formed when the side of a hill, a valley bottom or other excavation intersects a flowing body of ground water at or below the local water table, below which the subsurface material is saturated with water. A spring is the result of an aquifer being filled to the point that the water overflows onto the land surface. They range in size from intermittent seeps, which flow only after much rain, to huge pools flowing hundreds of millions of gallons daily.
Springs are not limited to the Earth’s surface, though. Recently, scientists have discovered hot springs at depths of up to 2.5 kilometers in the oceans, generally along mid-ocean rifts (spreading ridges). The hot water (over 300 degrees Celsius) coming from these springs is also rich in minerals and sulfur, which results in a unique ecosystem where unusual and exotic sea life seems to thrive.
Springs may be formed in any sort of rock. Small ones are found in many places. In Missouri, the largest springs are formed in limestone and dolomite in the karst topography of the Ozarks. Both dolomite and limestone fracture relatively easily. When weak carbonic acid (formed by rainwater percolating through organic matter in the soil) enters these fractures it dissolves bedrock. When it reaches a horizontal crack or a layer of non-dissolving rock such as sandstone or shale, it begins to cut sideways, forming an underground stream.
As the process continues, the water hollows out more rock, eventually admitting an airspace, at which point the spring stream can be considered a cave. This process is supposed to take tens to hundreds of thousands of years to complete. The amount of water that flows from springs depends on many factors, including the size of the caverns within the rocks, the water pressure in the aquifer, the size of the spring basin, and the amount of rainfall.
Human activities also can influence the volume of water that discharges from a spring-ground-water withdrawals in an area can reduce the pressure in an aquifer, causing water levels in the aquifer system to drop and ultimately decreasing the flow from the spring. Most people probably think of a spring as being like a pool of water-and normally that is the case. But, as this picture of the wall of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA shows, springs can occur when geologic, hydrologic, or human forces cut into the underground layers of soil and rock where water is in movement. Water from springs usually is remarkably clear. Water from some springs, however, may be “tea-colored.” This picture shows a natural spring in southwestern Colorado. Its red iron coloring and metals enrichment are caused by ground water coming in contact with naturally occurring minerals present as a result of ancient volcanic activity in the area.
In Florida, many surface waters contain natural tannic acids from organic material in subsurface rocks, and the color from these streams can appear in springs. If surface water enters the aquifer near a spring, the water can move quickly through the aquifer and discharge at the spring vent. The discharge of highly colored water from springs can indicate that water is flowing quickly through large channels within the aquifer without being filtered through the soil. The quality of the water in the local ground-water system will generally determine the quality of spring water.
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What Is ‘Raw’ Water, and Should You Drink It?
“I’m going to give you two choices,” says Bryan Pullen, CEO of Summit Spring Water in Maine. “A glass of natural, untreated water that meets every state and federal standard for drinking safety and is free of man-made contamination, or a glass of river water from New York mixed with chlorine, fluoride, anti-corrosives, nitrate, and pharmaceuticals. Which would you prefer?”
If you drink from the tap, then glass number two describes the components of your water. To ensure that your water is safe to drink by federal standards, it is treated with chemicals, such as chlorine to eliminate harmful microorganisms, and anti-corrosives that protect against infrastructure contamination while the water travels through pipes to your home.
Without sterilization, untreated or unfiltered water could be swarming with dangerous microorganisms, such as Giardia lamblia, cryptosporidium, and Vibrio cholerae, which could lead to hazardous health issues, such as diarrhea, sepsis, cholera, and potentially death.
But raw water enthusiasts, such as Bryan Pullen and his customers, have been drinking untreated and unfiltered water for years and say they have never fallen ill.
“In Summit Spring’s 150-year history, I was astounded to learn that no one has ever been sick, nor have they ever filed a single complaint,” says Pullen. “That’s how pure the water is.”
“Raw water” is a general term for unfiltered or unsterilized spring water that includes naturally occuring minerals and lacks chemical additives that are put into tap water to remove potential contaminants. Not only is raw water jugged, bottled, and sold in modern grocery stores across the United States, it’s flying off the shelves. At Rainbow Grocery, a worker-owned cooperative located in San Francisco, glass containers of raw water marketed by Live Water are rarely in stock — despite selling for $39.99 per 2.5 gallon jug.
The water at Summit Springs has a strict testing protocol to ensure that every bottle meets state and federal regulations, but not all raw water is pure and safe to drink.
“Source matters,” says Pullen. “I’m not suggesting to go to your local stream and drink the water. That’s dangerous.”
Whether you’re choosing water from the tap, a bottle, or a raw source, knowing where your water comes from, what’s in it, and if it’s safe to drink is important in the prevention of waterborne illness and to maintain health and wellness.
A Case for Raw Water
“You’re drinking toilet water with birth control drugs in them,” says Live Water founder Mukhande Singh when reflecting on the tap water that we drink. He’s not entirely wrong. According to an Associated Press investigation on drinking water supplies for 24 major metropolitan areas, traces of prescription medication, antibiotics, anticonvulsants, sex hormones, over-the-counter drugs, and additives from shampoos and lotions do exist in our tap water.
Filters and sterilizing agents such as chlorine are used to clear tap water of harmful microorganisms and prevent it from surface-level contaminants as it travels from the water source to your spigot.
“Filters remove minerals, parasites, and bacteria — good and bad,” says Pullen. “Pharmaceutical drugs and chemicals get past filters, so chlorine is there to sterilize the water while it is transported through the pipes to your home.”
Sometimes those pipes can be dangerous — especially if they’re old and made of iron, and especially if your state government is trying to get by with spending the least amount of money as possible. Remember Flint, Michigan?
Live Water and Summit Springs bottle their water right at the covered, natural spring because they say it eliminates the need for chemical sterilizing agents and the possibility for surface-level contamination from air pollution, animal feces, and man-made pollutants residing in lakes, streams, and rivers.
According to Singh, whose water comes from Madras, Oregon, “our tests have never shown any industrial age contamination or potentially harmful components.”
Pullen adds that they perform “continuous tests every time they bottle for harmful contaminants, quarterly tests of their containers and filtration systems, and state and federal tests annually for 200 different chemicals.”
The Dangers of Drinking Raw Water
According to the The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), drinking water comes from groundwater, streams, rivers, and lakes, which are subject to contamination by animal byproducts, microbials, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and pollution. To ensure your drinking water is safe, the EPA sets regulations for over 90 contaminants for drinking water, including:
- Chemical contaminants: arsenic, chemical, lead, copper, radionuclides, lead, and other chemicals
- Microbial contaminants: coliform, disinfection byproducts, bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens
Even though untreated water appears clean, drinking it can be extremely dangerous to your health. “Even though the water looked pristine, there are all kinds of wildlife in the mountains that poop in the fields, and when it rains or the snow melts, the pathogens in their feces end up in the water,” says Alan Roberson, the executive director of the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA).
Consuming raw water from surface-level sources put us at risk for a number of hazardous health issues caused by pathogens, such as:
- Giardia lamblia is a parasite found in soil, food, or water that colonizes in our small intestines. According to previous research published in the journal American Society for Biology, G. lamblia results in a diarrhea-inducing disease called giardiasis and is the most common cause of waterborne outbreaks of diarrhea in the United States.
- Cryptosporidium is a microorganism derived from feces that causes diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, and potential death.
- Vibrio cholerae is another aquatic microorganism, which when ingested can lead to cholera, an acute diarrheal intestinal infection. Symptoms of cholera range from nausea, abdominal cramping, and lethargy to severe dehydration, septic shock, and even death.
Ensure That Your Drinking Water Is Safe
“The basic benefit of drinking water is hydration to keep our bodies healthy and functioning properly,” says Kathy Benedict, PhD, epidemiologist in the Waterborne and Disease Prevention Branch of the CDC. “It’s important for people to know where their water comes from, what’s in it, how it’s delivered, and whether it’s safe for them to drink.”
According to EPA Press Officer Enesta Jones, water safety requirements are often met in the United States. “Over 91 percent of the community water systems meet all health-based standards all of the time,” says Jones.
Despite small levels of contamination from pharmaceuticals and chemical additives residing in U.S. tap water, our tap water is safe to consume unfiltered. “The United States has one of the safest public drinking water supplies in the world,” says Dr. Benedict.
“Tap water is very safe to drink in the United States,” adds Amy Pickering, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. “It isn’t necessary 99 percent of the time, but many people think it tastes better filtered.”
To ensure the safety of your water supply, you can:
- Have your tap water tested.
- Read the Consumer Confidence Report on your local drinking water.
- Filter your tap water.
- Drink bottled water that meets the Food and Drug Administration’s federal standards.
- Boil your water.
Additional reporting by Nicol Natale
Step aside, Juicero—and hold my “raw” water.
Last year, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Doug Evans brought us the Juicero machine, a $400 gadget designed solely to squeeze eight ounces of liquid from proprietary bags of fruits and vegetables, which went for $5 to $8 apiece. Though the cold-pressed juice company initially wrung millions from investors, its profits ran dry last fall after journalists at Bloomberg revealed that the pricy pouch-pressing machine was, in fact, unnecessary. The journalists simply squeezed juice out of the bags by hand.
But this didn’t crush Evans. He immediately plunged into a new—and yet somehow even more dubious—beverage trend: “raw” water.
The term refers to unfiltered, untreated, unsterilized water collected from natural springs. In the ten days following Juicero’s collapse, Evans underwent a cleanse, drinking only raw water from a company called Live Water, according to The New York Times. “I haven’t tasted tap water in a long time,” he told the Times. And Evans isn’t alone; he’s a prominent member of a growing movement to “get off the water grid,” the paper reports.
Members are taking up the unrefined drink due to both concern for the quality of tap water and the perceived benefits of drinking water in a natural state. Raw water enthusiasts are wary of the potential for contaminants in municipal water, such as traces of unfilterable pharmaceuticals and lead from plumbing. Some are concerned by harmless additives in tap water, such as disinfectants and fluoride, which effectively reduces tooth decay. Moreover, many believe that drinking “living” water that’s organically laden with minerals, bacteria, and other “natural” compounds has health benefits, such as boosting “energy” and “peacefulness.”
Mukhande Singh (né Christopher Sanborn), founder of Live Water, told the Times that tap water was “dead” water. “Tap water? You’re drinking toilet water with birth control drugs in them,” he said. “Chloramine, and on top of that they’re putting in fluoride. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it’s a mind-control drug that has no benefit to our dental health.” (Note: There is plenty of data showing that fluoride improves dental health, but none showing water-based mind control.)
Three years ago, Singh began selling raw water collected from Opal Springs in Culver, Oregon, which he claims contains unique probiotics. Consumers in certain areas of California can now sign up for raw water deliveries for as much as $6.40 per gallon.
A few of the concerns shared by Singh and other raw water drinkers are legitimate. Many US cities and areas do struggle with lead in drinking water. (That said, certified filters can greatly reduce lead in contaminated drinking water and lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust are the most hazardous sources of lead in the country, not water.) Also our current water treatment facilities are, indeed, largely incapable of filtering out trace pharmaceuticals from water. But levels of these contaminants in tap water are extremely low and it’s unclear if they pose any risk.
Raw water, on the other hand, clearly poses risks—and its benefits are unproven.
Natural water sources are vulnerable to all manner of natural pathogens. These include any bacteria, viruses, and parasites normally found in water or shed from nearby flora and fauna, such as Legionella and Giardia lamblia. They also can easily pick up environmental contaminants and naturally occurring hazards such as radiation from certain mineral deposits. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA has set standards and regulations for 90 different contaminants in tap water, including microorganisms, disinfectants, and radionuclides. And for bottled water, the Food and Drug Administration has set standards and can inspect bottling facilities. But such assurances aren’t in place for scouted spring water.
For its part, Live Water posted on its website a water quality report from an analysis conducted in 2015. The analysis looked at many contaminants but doesn’t appear to cover everything that the EPA monitors. For instance, there’s no mention of testing for pathogens such as Legionella and Giardia.
Live Water did try to identify some bacteria present, though. Through third-party testing, Live Water identified bacteria that it claims are probiotics with health benefits. On its website, Live Water attempts to back up this claim by linking to a study that, according to the raw water company, “prov raw spring water has vast healing abilities.” However, the linked study does no such thing. In the authors’ own words, the study “provided only preliminary data” on the presence of certain nonpathogenic bacteria in water from a spring in Italy. The authors merely speculate that these bacteria may produce beneficial “molecular mediators” that “thus far, remain unknown.”
Enlarge / Results of third-party microbial testing of Live Water’s water. Additionally, the bacteria isolated from the Italian spring water are a different set than those found in Live Water’s water. The two water samples only have one bacterium in common, Pseudomonas putida, which has no established health benefits. P. putida is a species of soil bacteria well known for degrading organic solvents, such as toluene, which is found in coal tar and petroleum. As such, the species is thought of as a potential tool to clean up contaminated soils (aka, bioremediation).
Live Water also found Pseudomonas oleovorans in its water. This is an environmental bacterium and opportunistic pathogen. Lastly, the company reports unidentified Pseudomonas species and unidentified species in the Acidovorax genus. Without species-level identification, it’s not possible to know what these bacteria may be up to in water. Both genera contain well-known plant-associated bacteria, but Pseudomonas contains well-studied human pathogens, too, such as P. aeruginosa, which is drug resistant and tends to plague patients with cystic fibrosis.
Live Water goes further on its website, adding that “beneficial bacteria are also proven to have abilities to transform harmful bacteria.” This, a reader could infer, suggests that the bacteria present in the raw water may reduce or protect drinkers from bacterial pathogens. But to support that statement, Live Water links to a Wikipedia page about phage therapy, which uses viruses (not bacteria) to combat bacterial infections (phage or bacteriophage are terms for viruses that infect bacteria).
Ars reached out to Live Water and asked about all these issues as well as its water testing, but the company did not immediately respond. If Live Water does get back to us, we’ll update this story.
A new drinking water trend is sparking some concerns among doctors, as some people are dropping bottled water for natural, untreated spring water, also known as “raw” water.
In a marketing campaign for Live Water, the quest for raw water is cast in a sacred light.
“A surge of energy and peacefulness entered my being,” the video claims.
In a San Francisco co-op, the pitch is working. Empty shelves are common here where Live Water sells for more than $16 a bottle, reports CBS News correspondent Tony Dokoupil.
The company claims their spring water is free of industrial toxins and rich in healthy microbes because it is not processed. Despite the exotic footage, Live Water sources from the same monitored spring that feeds the municipal tap in Madras, Oregon.
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say water is filtered for a reason – and warn untreated water may contain bacteria, viruses and parasites – no matter how clean it looks.
“If you’re not filtering it, if you’re not disinfecting it then you are creating a risk for yourself or anybody you give the water to of diseases and other illnesses that can come from the water,” said Vincent Hill, chief of the CDC Waterborne Disease Prevention branch.
In Harrison, Maine, Tourmaline Spring has become another source of so-called raw water.
Bryan Pullen and his partner, Seth Pruzansky, said their water is the purest you’ll ever taste, in part because of its age.
“The hydrogeologist that we had come up here said it’s at least 10,000 years old. At least,” Pruzansky said.
“Is older water better water?” Dokoupil asked.
“Yes. Yes,” they both responded.
“How pure was the Earth 10,000 years ago? Man has contributed all these contaminants. Look, in the old days, you could drink outta every lake, river, and stream on the planet… you can’t do that anymore,” Pullen said.
Tourmaline Spring is tested regularly for contaminants to ensure it meets the same standards as the community water system.
“This water is really, really important because of what’s not in it. Not because of what’s in it. It’s so incredibly naturally pure. It has to be a healing tonic. It has to be. ‘Cause we’re water creatures,” Pullen said. “I have customers that swear by it.”
But they haven’t attracted enough believers to turn a profit.
The source provides 35 million gallons of water per year but 1 percent actually ends up in the bottles. The rest flows right down the drain at a cost in lost revenue of $4 per second.
We decided to see if it was worth the cost.
“It is tasty. It’s very good,” Dokoupil said after sampling the water.
“It’s the best,” Pullen said.
“Mother Nature doesn’t lie,” Pruzansky said.
Experts say raw water may contain beneficial minerals but a healthy diet can provide the same health benefits, and it may not be worth the risk of the harmful bacteria and parasites often found in unfiltered water.
We reached out to Live Water, but it declined comment.
Are you looking to understand why purified water is your best option in the DMV area? We have outlined the processes of the most common types of water available so that you can see why purified water from DrinkMore Water is your best option in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC.
Contact us online to learn more about our purified water services.
In the Washington, DC area, our tap water comes from the Potomac or Patuxent Rivers. This water is process with basic filtration techniques like flocculation, which adds chemicals to the water to get particles to coagulate and float so that they can be removed; sand filtration, which filters out large pieces of debris; or chlorination, which adds chlorine to kill bacteria and microorganisms.
Despite tap water being considered drinkable by the EPA, it can lead to numerous problems. For one, chlorine is not ideal for human consumption—while our bodies can technically handle it, chlorine can lead to a variety of health complications and is potentially carcinogenic (leads to cancer). There is also a risk of lead in tap water due to lead being present in the pipes that bring tap water to your home.
DC tap water ranges from 200 PPM to 400+ PPM in TDS (total dissolved solids), which measures the concentration of soluble impurities in pure H2O. It has such a range of quality due to water temperature (warmer water is better for dissolving things), water flow, runoff, time of year (fertilizers, which are predominantly used in the spring, can leach into fresh water), and more.
Tap water is the cheapest water option available, but as you can see, it comes with a number of compromises. If you’re concerned about additives and chemicals in your food, then you should be just as particular with your water choices.
Spring water is often mistaken for being equal or interchangeable with purified water. However, spring water often contains many of the same impurities found in well or tap water. In fact, since springs feed our rivers, there is a lot of spring water in our tap water! Spring water generally has the same TDS range as tap water.
Many spring water companies advertise their water as “100% pure—” but if it’s not purified, what does that mean? The “pure” part actually refers to the source, not the water itself—in that 100% of that bottle’s contents came from an underground source (rather than surface water). This clever wording leads many people to believe that spring water is just as clean as purified water.
Thanks to this crafty marketing, spring water often conjures up natural, pleasant imagery. In reality, most spring water is not actually bottled at the source, but rather, is pumped into large tanker trucks from the source to be transported to the bottling facility. The water in those trucks must be chlorinated or ozonated at all times to protect against contamination. In this sense, spring water is hardly different from tap water, since it is largely treated the same way. Once the water is at the bottling facility, it goes through a carbon filtration process to remove the chlorine. This process may separate spring from tap water, but nitrates, metals, and more are likely to remain.
Distilled water is processed by boiling H2O out of its contaminants. Many of said contaminants include inorganic minerals or metals. Those impurities have a much higher boiling point than water’s boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. So, the steam that results from the boiling is captured and cooled—and the water that results from the steam is what is classified as distilled water. Because many of the volatile compounds in water have a lower boiling point than water, they boil off first. As a result, it is important to employ additional purification methods beyond distillation in order to have truly clean, pure water.
Filtered water is what you are most likely to find in a grocery store. It is typically sourced from municipal tap water, which is then run through carbon filters to remove the chlorine (which improves the taste) and sometimes a micron filter as well. After the filtering, it is ozonated and bottled. In essence, filtered water is quite similar to spring water. It comes from a “natural” source, goes through minimal filtration, and is then bottled and shipped to market.
The source of purified water isn’t what makes it the best choice on the market—it’s the purification methods that separate purified water from the rest of the pack. Purified water goes through a process similar to what filtered water goes through, but with a few added steps like reverse osmosis, distillation, or deionization. The end result is far purer than filtered, spring, or tap water.
Thanks to our 12-step purification process, our water is guaranteed to be the same high quality every time, regardless of variations in the source water’s quality. For this reason, purified water is viewed as the objective benchmark against which the purity of other waters is judged. If you want guaranteed purity and taste, choose purified water.
Schedule Purified Bottled Water Delivery in MD, DC, or VA
If you are looking for the cleanest, purest water on the market, look no further than DrinkMore Water. We have perfected our 12-step purification system and are constantly updating our processing plant with newer and better technologies so that we can continue to guarantee our purity and taste. We truly care about your satisfaction with our water and will never stop improving our process.
Contact us online to schedule bottled water delivery in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC!
Department of Health
Don’t Drink Water from Roadside Springs
- Don’t Drink Water from Roadside Springs is available in Portable Document Format (PDF).
- Roadside springs can contain bacteria and other substances that can make you sick.
- Whenever possible, people should drink from a regulated public water supply system or a properly installed and maintained private well.
- Contact your Local Health Department to learn about other options for your drinking water.
That spring water might not be as safe as you think!
Some communities have a local spring that residents use to collect water for drinking, cooking and other household purposes. Springs occur where underground water comes out near the ground surface. Although the water may look pure and clean, it might not be. Often it is unknown what the source of the water is, or where it has traveled before being collected. A spring might flow above ground, allowing animal waste or chemicals to run into the water.
Why should I stop drinking spring or untreated surface water?
By the time the spring reaches a collection point, it could have chemicals, bacteria, parasites and viruses in it that might make people sick. Waterborne organisms (Cryptosporidium, Giardia and E. coli) can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Spring water could also contain chemicals that can cause long-term health effects, such as kidney and liver damage, nervous system disorders and birth defects. The health effects of drinking contaminated water can be more severe, even life threatening, for babies, children, the elderly and immune-compromised individuals.
Do you really want to drink that water?
The New York State Health Department recommends that no one should use roadside springs and other uncontrolled, untreated water sources for drinking water. Roadside springs are generally not protected from contamination and are not routinely tested. Instead, drink water from either a regulated public water system that is required to treat, disinfect and monitor its water on a regular basis, or from a properly installed and maintained drinking water supply well. New York State Health Department certified bottled water is another alternative.
Ask for help!
Contact your local health department if your home or workplace is not served by a public water system or an on-site drilled well. If there are no other water supply sources that can be used, local health department staff can discuss treatment and other possible water sources for drinking and cooking.
Purified Water vs. Spring Water: Which Is Better?
Drinking water is necessary for the proper functioning of every cell in our bodies. While most people know staying continuously hydrated is extremely important for their overall health, some of them don’t really know the type of water they drink.
As a consumer, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to types of water and it can prove to be confusing to tell difference between the available choices, such as the purified water vs spring water. Well, being aware of the differences helps you decide on the best choice for your hydration.
Without further ado, let’s find out the type of water that suits your tastes.
Purified water is water that has typically gone through a filtration process and then purified to get rid of chemical pollutants, pathogens, and other impurities like copper and lead.
The standard requirement is that, a load of dissolved impurities must be reduced to extremely low levels of 10 parts per million (ppm) or less. This type of water has a higher purity level compared to tap water regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Purified bottled water is subject to strict health standards and is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
How Purified Water is Made
It can be produced basically using groundwater, tap water, or water from any other source. However, the purification process does not remove microbes.
There are different filtration and purification methods, and one of the most popular systems is the use of the carbon filter with the reverse-osmosis water filter unit. This unit allows collecting the cleanest water molecules through a semi-permeable membrane while filtering out and discarding any unwanted elements effectively.
Some restaurants and homes install multi-barrier water filtration and purification systems, which don’t require the initial use of carbon filters. Typically, the water goes through a one-micron complete filtration, ultra-violet light treatment, as well as an ozonation process.
Is Steam-Distilled Water Classified as Purified Water?
Yes— distilled water is a type of purified water, although not very common for drinking like the other forms of purified water. The water goes through a process called distillation, where it is boiled to form steam—which is then directed to a separate chamber for condensation. The end result is exceptionally pure, clean water.
The distillation process is highly effective, as it leaves behinds heavy solids containing impurities like sulfates and kills viruses, bacteria, viruses, and protozoa.
Benefits of Purified Water
Purified water is safe for human consumption, as it contains no harmful chemicals, pathogens, and contaminants that pose a health risk to you or your household members. Also, it is free off unpleasant taste often caused by metal plumbing, organic matter, and chemical treatments.
According to EPA, spring water is a type of water that naturally flows and rises to the surface from a large underground water basin. Most of the natural sources are often found in valleys and along the sides of mountains and hills. If the water can’t rise on its own that it requires extraction, then the underground source is known as artesian well water.
How Spring Water is Made
Areas with thick bedrock, particularly limestone are a common spot for springs. By its very nature, limestone is characterized by a relatively soft texture that easily allows water to seep through it. Basically, spring is a result of a high level of water in the underground aquifer, causing the excess amount to rise to the surface.
As it rises through the rocks, the spring water undergoes an incredible natural filtration process. That’s why the water always seems so clear and some consumers prefer drinking it without further treatment, because it’s generally considered safe and rich in minerals. Unfortunately, though, spring water can also be subjected to particles and other elements that may compromise its quality and color.
For bottled spring water, it must pass through a filtration system and be tested to meet the standards set by the FDA- Unlike the purified water, spring water often than not retains all the natural minerals even after filtration. So, you’ll still enjoy it’s great, refreshing taste.
Benefits of Spring Water
Spring water has exceptional purity and provides all the essential minerals in the right amount and proportion needed by the body. It is safe for people of all ages. Also, beverages prepared using spring water tastes great.
So which is better between spring water and purified water?
Both purified water and spring water are considered safe for human consumption. The type of water you choose to drink depends on your personal preference and access. Nevertheless, spring water seems to be more preferred due to its high mineral content that improves the taste. On the flip side, drinking high-quality spring water daily could prove to be quite expensive for many people.
With the advancements in technology, you can find a state-of-the-art water purification system to filter and purify your water right in your home or restaurant. Purified water is more readily available and can save you money in the long term.
Looking for Purified or Spring Water?
My Own Water provides both purified water and spring water. Our purified drinking goes through a lot of processes to ensure a clear, fresh drinking water. Whilst our natural spring water comes from California springs which is recently voted the best tasting spring water around! Click here to learn more.
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What Is Raw Water?
Move over Soylent: Silicon Valley’s obsession du jour is raw water, or spring water that has not been filtered or treated in any way, according to a recent report in the New York Times.
It’s apparently flying off the shelves in San Francisco. But is it beneficial or safe? Here’s everything you need to know about raw water:
1. WTF is raw water?
Unfiltered, untreated spring water, packaged in glass bottles.
A few companies “produce” and sell it, including: Live Water in Oregon, Liquid Eden in San Diego, and Tourmaline Spring in Maine. In general, it’s gathered at running springs and bottled at nearby facilities. Live Water says they test each batch for bacteria before it goes to market and that each bottle has a shelf life of “one lunar cycle.”
Proponents believe it’s better than tap water because it doesn’t contain fluoride and chlorine, and that it’s better than traditional bottled water because minerals aren’t filtered out or added to it during processing. They also criticize bottled water for being treated with ozone gas.
Notable fan: Doug Evans, creator of Juicero, the juice world’s biggest fail, who says he’s been drinking raw water for two decades.
2. Should I drink it?
3. Why not?
Bacteria and disease. Untreated water can contain cholera, Hepatitis A, E. coli, carcinogenic compounds, metals, and parasites like Giardia, which cause diarrhea, according to the CDC.
As the Verge reports:
Groundwater wells — the ultimate in off-the-grid water that roughly 15 million households in the US rely on — also need to be routinely tested for safety. Chemicals like arsenic, metals like uranium, or contaminants from agricultural activities like nitrates can leach into the groundwater that supplies both wells and springs. Even rainwater — which is a great for your garden — is less safe for drinking unless it’s been treated, the CDC says. Animal feces, chemicals in air pollution or in roofing materials and gutters, and insect larvae can all swim around in rain barrels.
Live Water markets its product as “naturally probiotic.” At the bottom of its website, a disclosure reads:
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Our services are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult your health care provider before making a decision to switch your drinking water source.
4. But is that really any worse than bottled or tap water?
Yep, it’s worse. Though exceptions exist, overall “we have an incredibly safe and reliable water supply” in the United States, David Jones, professor of history of medicine at Harvard Medical School, told the Washington Post. “In some respects the fact that people are worried filtration is removing necessary minerals is really an extreme case of one of these First World problems.”
The FDA and individual states set guidelines for bottled water processing. Inspectors visit processing and bottling plants to test the water for contaminants. According to the Times, only Tourmaline Spring has received express permission from the state to produce and bottle its water.
5. Okay, but at the very least it’s probably cheaper than treated bottled water?
Since the NYT published its story, the price of one brand of raw water has risen from $37 per gallon to more than $60.
You’ve probably heard the buzz about “raw water,” the hottest new drink in Silicon Valley. It promises benefits like “natural probiotics” and “beauty minerals” like silica—and as we just discovered, it’s a total rip-off.
A New York Times trend piece and several follow-ups profiled “Fountain of Truth” raw water. Made by a company called Live Water, it’s advertised as “unfiltered, untreated, unsterilized spring water.” A 2.5 gallon jug of “Fountain of Truth” recently retailed for $60.99 (about $24 per gallon) in a boutique grocery store in San Francisco, prompting shock from consumers and horror from scientists.
As it turns out, the “Fountain of Truth” is perfectly safe to drink. That’s because it’s the exact same water that flows out of the taps in Oregon. At $64 for a minimum of four jugs, that’s an awful lot of money to pay for essentially the same water you can get out of your bathroom sink.
Live Water makes it look like its product has been skimmed off the surface of a magical mountain spring. Founder Mukhande Singh lives in Hawaii, and you can find him on Instagram filling glass orbs from natural water sources trickling down over jungle vegetation, or from PVC pipes protruding from springs just below the ground. Singh—whose birth name is Christopher Sanborn—says he’s personally drunk from “hundreds” of natural springs and has never gotten sick. His company’s to findaspring.com, a website for water gatherers to find naturally occurring water sources.
When raw water first started going viral, a number of other outlets reported on the dangers of collecting your drinking water directly from a spring. Given the potential health risks, we wanted to find out exactly where “Fountain of Truth” comes from.
On its website, Live Water says it’s sourced from Opal Springs, Oregon, a natural spring at the bottom of a canyon near the small city of Madras. So we called Jonathan Modie, a spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Public Health, to ask what kind of water “collecting” goes on at Opal Springs.
Modie said that Opal Springs was fed by an aquifer that was able to meet all the standards for public consumption without treatment, and that the water was distributed by the Deschutes Valley Water District, a nonprofit utility company that’s been in business since 1919. When we called the Deschutes Valley Water District to ask how bottling companies like Live Water get water from the spring. They made it clear that no, Singh isn’t down at the bottom of the Opal Springs Canyon dunking his $33 1 gallon globes in by hand like he does on his Instagram.
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“They all like to sorta imply that they’re filling bottles right outta Opal Springs,” Edson Pugh, the general manager, told me. “They are not down at our spring bottling directly from the source. It’s the same water that we’re serving our customers.”
In other words, Live Water’s pricey “Fountain of Truth” is just the tap water from Jefferson County, which residents get piped into their homes for about one-third of a cent per gallon.
When we asked Live Water to confirm this, Singh was open about it.
“The town of Madras, Oregon, has been drinking raw unsterilized Opal Springs water from their taps for over half a century and no one has ever gotten sick,” Singh said in an email. “Our water is indeed the same water that comes out of their taps.” Shortly before publication, Live Water to acknowledge this fact.
When asked why a minimum Live Water delivery costs $64, Singh replied: “Our water delivery service is so expensive as a result of our refrigerated trucks, refrigerated storage, and the cost for custom made glass jugs. We are acquiring some outside investment soon, and will be building up our infrastructure. We hope to make prices more affordable at that time.”
It’s true that “Fountain of Truth” does not go through the filtering, UV-purifying, and ozonation processes that other bottled water brands do. But the only proven difference this makes is that it shortens the shelf life of the water itself. (Live Water embraces this, noting that its “raw” water has a shelf life of “one full lunar cycle” after delivery.)
The problem is that despite Singh’s claims that Live Water provides “natural probiotics” and “beauty minerals,” skipping out on those treatment processes doesn’t have any proven health benefits. Live Water alleges that “water sterilization disrupts healthy bacterias.” Tricia Van Laar, a microbiologist at California State University, Fresno, told us she’d never heard of any of the bacteria listed on Live Water’s site as being used as probiotics.
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Although Singh’s claims that Live Water is good for you appear to be bullshit, It’s not illegal, per se, for the company to make these false claims. The company includes all the relevant FDA disclaimers about its mystical claims, which essentially act as a buffer against accusations of false advertising. Singh’s Instagram is full of raw water gathering, but he never explicitly says he’s showing the Live Water bottling process for its actual product.
To be fair, as far as tap water goes, Live Water is pretty great. The Deschutes Valley Water District won “Best Tasting Water” awards in a blind taste test with judges from across the state in 1996, 2001, 2003, and 2013, and Pugh said local residents tell him they often take tap water with them in bottles on vacation. But does that make it worth anywhere from $16-$60 per jug in San Francisco?
For Silicon Valley’s new-money technocrats, spending $90 dollars a month on drinking water may not be a big deal financially, but they might as well be flushing that money down the drain. In San Francisco, where Live Water is sold, the water supply is perfectly drinkable, and costs around half a penny per gallon. Heck, you can buy distilled water, the purest form of the liquid, on Walmart.com for less than a dollar per gallon, from anywhere in the country. And if you’re that desperate for probiotics, do what everyone else does and eat some yogurt, instead of getting swindled by a new-age hippie grifter selling tap water in a pretty vase.
So if you’re thirsty for “raw water” in San Francisco or L.A., you could buy a couple of jugs at the corner organic grocery. Or just take a road trip to Oregon and turn on a tap. It’d probably cost about the same.
- People in San Francisco are spending upwards of $60 for a 2.5 gallon glass jug of “fresh, live spring water.”
- The water isn’t filtered or treated, which means it could harbor microbial viruses and bacteria that cause disease and deadly diarrhea.
- American tap water isn’t perfectly clean, but it’s tested to stricter health standards than bottled water.
The founders of a company called Live Water, which sells unfiltered, untreated water in glass containers, want customers to believe that tap water is just too “dead.”
Founder Mukhande Singh told the The New York Times that those who drink the regulated H2O that comes out of kitchen taps, public water fountains, and garden hoses are “drinking toilet water with birth control drugs in them.”
In San Francisco, his idea has gathered quite a following: the water is regularly sold out in grocery stores and people are spending more than $1 per glass to drink water that’s never been treated.
The company warns consumers on its site: “Consult your health care provider before making a decision to switch your drinking water source.” But food safety experts tell Business Insider it’s a terrible idea to drink untreated water.
Why can unfiltered water be dangerous?
There are billions of people around the world living a “raw” water lifestyle right now. And it’s not very glamorous.
Chemicals like lead, microbes from feces (both animal and human), pesticide runoff, and underground waste are just some of the global threats to clean drinking water.
The US water system isn’t perfect. A 2009 New York Times investigation found there was enough arsenic in the water in some parts of Texas, Arizona and Nevada to contribute to cancer.
But American drinking water does pretty well when stacked up against other countries where citizens might drink from less-than-ideally-filtered sources. The World Health Organization says dirty drinking water kills half a million people every year, and at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with feces.
Guzzling from fresh mountain streams won’t solve these problems. Clear mountain sources can infect hikers with the parasite Giardia, while another tiny, one-celled parasite called cryptosporidia can be deadly for people with compromised immune systems, and cause weeks of watery diarrhea for everyone else. Cryptospordium can infect a person even if they ingest a single bacterium.
Live Water founder Mukhande Singh. Live Water
In the US, The Environmental Protection Agency is required to enforce The Safe Drinking Water Act. Passed in 1974, the federal law regulates over 90 contaminants in tap water. Most big cities are constantly monitoring their water supplies. In New York City in 2016, the Department of Environmental Protection tested more than 51,500 water samples.
Live Water says it tested a few of its own samples from its spring source in Oregon. Those vials came back negative for Legionella and other illness-causing contaminants, but the tests the company used were not performed up to federal regulatory compliance standards. Singh and his company also tout the health benefits of their spring water, but the single scientific research paper that they cite isn’t about drinking water at all: it refers to the healing effects of spring water for rabbit wounds.
The Live Water team also says that their water is infused with some good stuff that tap water doesn’t have. “Sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium are the four primary electrolytes that maintain the body’s fluid balance. LIVE WATER is abundant in each,” the company writes on its website.
Physicians who’ve studied the mineral content in tap water in 21 major cities across North America say most of our tap water already has a healthy amount of calcium, magnesium and sodium. In many locations, tap water contains enough to provide up to 8% of a person’s daily dietary reference intake, if they’re well hydrated.
Live Water did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Why is there fluoride in tap water?
The raw water evangelists told The Times that fluoride in tap water is “a mind-control drug that has no benefit to our dental health.”
There’s no evidence to support this. But fluoride, which is often naturally present at low levels in water, has been added in to some tap water for decades to help prevent cavities. The EPA regulates these levels to make sure the concentrations aren’t too high. (Kids under 8 can get too much fluoride, which can cause some cosmetic discoloration of teeth.)
What about lead? Genetha Campbell carries free water distributed at the Lincoln Park United Methodist Church in Flint, Michigan. AP Photo/Paul Sancya
The complex web of rivers, lakes, reservoirs and groundwater sources that people in the US draw on to drink from isn’t perfect. What happened in Flint, Michigan in 2014 is a textbook example of water resource management gone wrong.
The city switched its main water source from the Detroit to the Flint River to save some money. Lead that started leaking into the drinking supply from the pipes wasn’t properly treated, and smelly, colored water flowed into homes. According to The Atlantic, there has been both a spike in miscarriages and drop in birth rates in Flint since then.
Marc Edwards, one of the first engineers who studied the water problem in Flint, says there’s no way to be completely sure you’ll never get sick from drinking water: “It is not possible to achieve zero health risk, with any water at all,” he wrote Business Insider in an email. But he says “most cities provide tap water to standards that pose very little health risk at reasonable cost.”
There are a few things everyone can do to make sure that the water they’re drinking is up to par. There’s an annual drinking water report from the EPA, as well as an independent tap water database available from the Environmental Working Group. If you’re worried about how clean your water might be, you can use an NSF/ANSI-approved filter at home.
But for some Americans, indulging in unregulated water may be about more than staying hydrated and healthy. Edwards believes they might really be seeking out some kind of mystical “glacial purity” or a hidden “fountain of youth,” while shunning what they perceive as more “poisoned water.”
At that point, he says, a person’s urge to avoid the tap is simply “beyond the ability of science to quantify.”