Water security and purity is a growing concern for American households across the nation. With recent catastrophes in the news—most notably the crisis in Flint, Michigan—consumers are beginning to wonder where their water comes from and if it’s safe to drink.
More people than ever are making the transition from tap to bottle. Surprisingly, however, not all bottled water is the same. Consumers are likely familiar with phrases like “filtered water”, “purified water”, or “spring water” but what exactly do they mean? While these distinctions may go unnoticed by some, there certainly is a difference between them. There are many companies that offer home water delivery in Atlanta and all of them insist that their water is the best. Purified water, spring water, filtered water; it’s all available, but which one really is the best? Let’s take a closer look at these options, and maybe determine if one is “better” than the alternatives.
First-Things-First: Filtered vs Spring Vs Purified Water
The two main classes of bottled water are purified and spring water. Where does “filtered water” fit into the picture? Truthfully, all drinking water is filtered. This includes all bottled water as well as tap water of any sort. Water—in order for it to be deemed appropriate for consumption—is filtered to some degree. For this reason, most bottled waters will say “filtered” on them. This really doesn’t tell the consumer much about the water, as both purified and spring waters must be filtered before they can be sold to consumers. However, there are other important distinctions between purified and spring water. Let’s take a closer look.
Spring Water vs. Purified Water – Which Is Better?
Purified Water Explained
Most of the bottled water sold in the U.S. claims to be “purified water”. Surprisingly, this isn’t just a marketing ploy that makes the water seem cleaner, fresher, or more pristine. In-fact, companies aren’t legally allowed to market their product as “purified water”, until they can prove that overall impurity levels are below 10 parts per million. Parts per million (or ppm) is a metric commonly used to measure the concentration of something in a liquid—in the case of drinking water, 1ppm is equivalent to one milligram of particles in one liter of water. This means that purified waters are often-times subject to intensive treatment processes and filtration systems to remove particles or substances that may restrict their product from obtaining “purified status”.
What Exactly is Spring Water?
Perhaps the most common bottled alternatives to purified water are the “Spring waters”. The phrase is frequently labeled on the bottle, but it may not say “spring” specifically; other common names for spring water include well water, groundwater, or artesian water—they all refer to the same type of product. According to the EPA, for a water to be considered “spring” water, it must originate from an underground aquifer.
Natural springs generally form along the sides of hills and in mountain valleys, and the path the water takes through the mountain rocks to the surface acts as a natural form of filtration. Many people consider the natural filtration process of spring water makes for better tasting water due to the presence of naturally occurring minerals. Spring water is often treated using a method that preserves the mineral content while removing microbes and other impurities.
Spring water may or may not undergo intensive treatment before its distribution. The real appeal of spring water is that it comes from a “pure” source, where man-made contaminants are low and natural minerals are abundant. In fact, while spring waters may have relatively high ppm levels, these “excess” particles are typically natural compounds from the underground aquifers. Many people believe that these minerals are beneficial for health. Nonetheless, it’s important to note that spring water is not required to meet the ppm standards that apply to purified waters.
Tap Water Vs Purified Water Vs Spring Water?
It’s important to note that tap-water is also subject to purity specifications. However, the standards that apply to tap water are far less strict than those for “purified” bottled waters. For instance, while laws state that bottled water must remain at or below 10ppms in-order to be considered purified, tap water can reach upwards 100-400ppm (anywhere below 500ppm is generally considered “safe” to drink, but the lower the better, obviously). in mind-mind however, that since ppm is the only metric determining the legitimacy of purified water, the water itself can actually come from anywhere, including springs, oceans, wells, or even from the existing tap-water systems
Purified vs Spring Water – Which is the BEST Water?
There’s no real answer to this question. The “better” water largely depends on what you consider to be the most important factors. The real truth about the water is the source. If you’re unsure about the quality of the springs, like those in Flint, Michigan, you should opt for purified water. That goes for traveling abroad as well.
Those that prefer spring water tend to like it’s natural minerals that wouldn’t be found in purified options. These additional minerals render the product more health-beneficial, and some even claim to improve the taste of the water.
While both types of water are perfectly fit to drink, spring water offers several benefits that purified water lacks. This is largely due to the presence of naturally occurring minerals that are removed during the purification process. The bottom line is that both purified water and spring water are considered safe to drink (and in-fact, well within the confines of “safe” drinking water) according to the EPA. Depending on the quality of your local tap water, both spring and purified waters are likely purer than water from the faucet.