Friday, 15 April 2011 00:00
There’s no doubt that one of the biggest debates in this country deals with something most people take for granted: water — and more specifically bottled water versus tap water. There are many strong views on both sides of the argument, but the truth is that most people just don’t know the facts. The Long Island Water Conference wants you to know that our tap water is not only cheaper, healthier and more convenient, it is also much better for the environment.
Every year, Americans spend over $11 billion on bottled water. In fact, bottled water costs between 250 to 10,000 times more than tap water, and in blind taste tests people can’t even tell the difference. For the $1.50 price of a single-use bottle of water at the deli, you could drink a hefty 1,000 gallons of Long Island tap water.
There is a perception among many people that bottled water is somehow more healthy or pure than water from their tap. This is simply an illusion of marketing. No matter what the bottled water’s source, it is not subject to the same strict water-quality standards and testing by the state and federal governments as tap water is. Bottled water companies are not required to disclose where they get their water, how it is purified or whether it is treated at all. As a matter of fact, 40 percent of all bottled water companies use municipal water as its main supply source.
State and federal agencies require local tap water to be tested every two to three days, while the Food and Drug Administration requires that bottled water be tested only once a month. Since tap water is a public resource, extensive documentation on its quality and content must be made available to the consumer through the Annual Water supply Statement that all Long Island water suppliers send out every year.
There are also the tremendous environmental costs associated with bottled water. Unfortunately, about 85 percent of the plastic bottles are ending up in regular trash. That’s over 15 million tons of plastic worldwide, every year. Recent studies have found that only one in five plastic bottles is being recycled. These bottles either sit in landfills—taking up space and creating a source of possible contamination—or they are incinerated, releasing dioxins into the atmosphere. Not to mention the energy used to bottle and deliver the bottled water to the stores.
The Long Island Water Conference urges you to think twice the next time you plan on buying bottled water. Why not just fill a reusable water bottle with tap water! New York State’s regulations for tap water are among the most stringent in the U.S. – and Long Island tap water is one of the purest quality.