The main difference between water from a faucet and bottled water is the source.
Water from your faucet comes from a local source - ground or surface water that is treated for contaminants at a municipal plant before it is sent through pipes to your home. In the case of some rural residents, water is drawn directly from the ground through nearby wells and may or may not be treated in a home-based system.
Bottled water can come from anywhere across the country, ranging from artesian wells to public water supplies.
While some may drink bottled water thinking it comes from a more pristine source than their city water supply, this is not necessarily the case. Federal law sets standards for drinking water quality, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitoring public water systems and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) overseeing bottled water. Some bottled water is treated more than tap water and some is not treated at all.
Water quality reports are just one way we can check the quality of local water supplies.
Each year by July 1, a Consumer Confidence Report, also known as a drinking water quality report, should be received by all United States communities. To find your local CCR click here. Just as one can check with local officials to see local annual water quality reports, one should also check the label of bottled water to learn its source, possible contaminants and dissolved minerals, and how it is treated.
It has been found by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that drinking water in the United States is some of the safest in the world. Faucet water can have high concentrations of chlorine and natural minerals that can cause an unpleasant odor and taste on occasion. However, the lack of an odor or taste does not mean that bottled water is cleaner. Any bad taste in local water can be eliminated by using a filtration system.
Another difference many critics of bottled water point to is its cost to the consumer compared to tap water. A gallon of tap water costs pennies, while a gallon of bottled water can cost up to $9.60. Critics of bottled water also point to the negative impact on the environment that bottled water’s plastic and glass packaging. It is estimated that 1,500 water bottles are thrown in the trash every second.