Bottled water is increasingly common, with Americans drinking more than 2 billion gallons of it each year. With the large variety of different types of water on the market, it can be confusing to know the difference between one and the other. Spring water and purified water come from two different sources, and in many cases, are as safe as tap water for drinking, although personal preference often determines they type of water chosen.
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What Is Purified Water?
Purified water requires all impurities in water to be reduced to no more than 10 parts per million. This is significantly higher than the standards required for standard drinking water, including tap water, as determined by the Environmental Protection Agency. However, purified water requires the removal of chemicals and pathogens, but not microbes. While purified water is often considered the same thing as filtered water, this is misleading, as all water is subjected to some filtration, but the standards of purified water are stricter. Because of the strict filtration and purification standards, purified water can come from any source of water, including spring, ground or tap water.
What Is Spring Water?
Spring water is also sometimes called artesian water, ground water or well water. The EPA defines it as water that comes from an underground aquifer. Spring water may be accessed by a well, and it can be treated or not. In all cases, spring water is collected when it flows or arrives to the surface. Natural springs can form along the sides of hills and in valleys, and some people consider the natural filtration process of spring water to make for better tasting water that is richer in minerals.
How Is Spring Water Made?
Springs for spring water can form where there is any rock, with limestone being a common case in much of the United States. The soft texture of limestone makes it easy for the water to well through. Springs form when an underground aquifer is filled sufficiently high that the excess seeps through to the surface. While water from springs are often clear because they are filtered through rock, the mineral composition of the soil will affect the color. As well, spring water can be safe to drink without any treatment, however, the quality of the water is not guaranteed. Bottled spring water is required to be tested and filtered for any sediment to meet EPA standards.
Choosing Between The Two
Bottle spring and purified water are both safe to drink and, to be considered drinking water, it must meet the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations as set by the EPA. In many cases, the choice between spring and purified water depends on access and personal preference. Proponents of spring water argue that the taste is preferable because it contains natural minerals, which improve the taste of the water. However, as water purification processes become more readily available, restaurant owners and some home owners are now installing high grade water purification systems to purify their water, making purified water more readily available. In some cases, high quality spring water, ones that are advertised from specific sources, such as glacier water, are too expensive for many people to drink on a daily basis.
- NYU Langone Medical Center: The Tidal Wave of Bottled Water
- Drink More Water: Distilled vs. Purified Water
- U.S. Geological Survey: Springs - The Water Cycle
- Environmental Protection Agency: Water Health Series
- Environmental Protection Agency: Drinking Water Contaminants
- New York Times: Fighting the Tide, A Few Restaurants Tilt to Tap Water