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Clean and Green Drinking Water

Clean and Green Drinking Water

Drinking lots of clean water is essential to good health. But which drinking water is cleanest? You might guess bottled water, but it’s not that simple.

Bottled water is probably not the best choice. Here’s why:

  • Bottled water is not necessarily cleaner than tap water. In fact, FDA purity requirements for city water systems are far more stringent than for bottled water companies.
  • The plastic in bottles can leach into the drinking water they contain.
  • Bottled water creates more pollution by filling our landfills with gazillions of wasted plastic bottles.
  • Tap water is cheaper. A gallon of filtered water from your tap costs about 10 to 18 cents per gallon. At $1 to $4 per gallon, bottled water is at least 10 times more expensive.

By the way, if you’re frequently on the go and want to carry tap water with you from home, consider the wisdom of a metal water bottle.

Your tap water is probably provided by one of three sources: City water system, town/community water provider, or private well.

Community/Town Water
Since 1996, changes in the Safe Water Drinking Act require that town water providers supply consumers with an annual drinking water quality report. The report provides info about contaminant levels in your town drinking water, and how well the levels comply with the national drinking water standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. If you live in a town and get a water bill, you should receive the report from the place that sent you the bill.

Well Water
If you live in a house with a private well, it might be wise to test your tap water once a year. More frequent might be a good idea if you live in a heavily populated or recently developed area, if your well is new, if you have a history of well contamination, or if you notice changes in the quality of your water such as funny tastes, odors or a cloudy appearance.

The best time to take a well water sample is after a heavy rain. Sampling kits can be purchased online, but be sure to have samples analyzed by a state certified laboratory.

A standard water test measures levels of arsenic, chloride, copper, fluoride, water hardness, iron, lead, manganese, pH, and sodium. Presence of these substances is not necessarily cause for alarm. It depends on how much is in your water. Standard tests also check for the presence of coliform bacteria, nitrates/nitrites, and radon. Testing for pesticides and herbicides is generally not part of a standard screening due to high cost, but you may want to investigate having your water tested for those as well.

More Tap Water Info
If you want to do some in depth research about the water you drink at home, go to the online National Tap Water Clarity Database. There you can learn things like:

  • How many people your water provider serves.
  • How much water is consumed in your area.
  • Contaminant levels of a variety of U.S. city water systems.
  • Which states have the highest levels of water contamination.
  • What contaminants are NOT regulated by the EPA.

If you have questions about your water, you can call the Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water hot line: (800) 426-4791.

Cleanest Water
Whether you live in a city, town, or rural area, your best bet for clean drinking water is to install a filtration system into your home. Your choice of device will depend on what you are trying to filter out of your water, where you live, and your budget. Find out more about water filtration systems here.

Remember: Water is a precious natural resource, one that needs to be cherished and consciously tended. So drink up, but conserve where and when you can. Keep in mind, too, that there are some exciting new water treatment options out there for towns and other larger groups, such as the Eco Machine, a non-polluting filtration system that uses living plants, bacteria, algae, snails and fungi to clean and recycle wastewater.

Read more: Home, Diet & Nutrition, Health & Safety

By Lynn Behrendt, contributing writer to Green Living at Care2.com

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Lynn Behrendt

Lynn Behrendt is a writer, poet and sculptor of steel. She lives in New York's Hudson Valley with her husband and two sons.

14 comments

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2:37AM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

Yea good article.
'Cleanest Water
Whether you live in a city, town, or rural area, your best bet for clean drinking water is to install a filtration system into your home. Your choice of device will depend on what you are trying to filter out of your water, where you live, and your budget. Find out more about water filtration systems here.'
Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/clean-and-green-drinking-water.html#ixzz1sZVwQ1MD

12:01AM PDT on Apr 20, 2012

thanks for this info!

10:53PM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

That said, you need to keep up your water filter. They don't stay good forever.

9:23PM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

Thanks for the National Tap Water Clarity Database link.

7:11PM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

I have a Brita filter pitcher and we get the big bottles that you take to the store and put in the recycle thing...anyways I think they have spring water. muuuuch better than tap, especially the tap here. the city has said for a long time that the water here isn't safe to drink. and I don't touch bottled water anymore.

6:26AM PDT on Mar 29, 2011

Thanks for the info.

7:20AM PDT on Jul 23, 2009

While there is fluoride in the tap water, give me my pure spring water bottled at the source. The first occurrence of fluoridated drinking water on Earth was found in Germany's Nazi prison camps. The Gestapo had little concern about fluoride's supposed effect on children's teeth; their reason for mass-medicating water with sodium fluoride was to sterilize humans and force the people in their concentration camps into calm submission. (Ref. book: "The Crime and Punishment of I.G. Farben" by Joseph Borkin.)

Sodium fluoride, a hazardous-waste by-product from the manufacture of aluminum, is a common ingredient in rat and cockroach poisons, anesthetics, hypnotics, psychiatric drugs, and military nerve gas. It's historically been quite expensive to properly dispose of, until some aluminum industries with an overabundance of the stuff sold the public on the terrifically insane but highly profitable idea of buying it at a 20,000% markup, injecting it into our water supplies, and then DRINKING it.

Independent scientific evidence repeatedly showing up over the past 50 years reveals that fluoride allegedly shortens our life span, promotes cancer and various mental disturbances, accelerates osteoporosis and broken hips in old folks, and makes us stupid, docile, and subservient, all in one package. There are reports of aluminum in the brain possibly being a causative factor in Alzheimer's Disease, and evidence points towards fluoride's strong affinity for aluminum and also its abilit

6:32AM PDT on Mar 24, 2008

Here is a link to the National Tap Water Quality Database:
http://www.ewg.org/tapwater/findings.php

8:50PM PDT on Mar 18, 2008

The National Tap Water Clarity Database sounds very interesting, but I just can't find it anywhere...

12:35PM PDT on Mar 14, 2008

Certain places, in fact most places in the US fluoridate the water as well. Fluoride has numerous negative effects on health and can even cause bone cancer. This is the only argument I have for bottled water (only those that are purified with reverse osmosis that remove fluoride). Bottled water in all other aspects is a scam. People pay 1000 times more for water in a bottle that is sometimes just bottled tap water. What can you say, people are gullible. I just use a faucet mounted filter but am thinking of a getting an activated alumina filter as well for removing fluoride.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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