2008-04-30

Belly up and hit the tap


Not long ago I was at a friend's house, and my four year-old asked me for a glass of water. I grabbed a cup and headed over to the sink.

"*GASP,*" my friend exclaimed. "Don't use that water, use the drinking water!"

"Oh, yeah, right, I don't know what I was thinking," I mumbled as I made my way towards the water tank I'd use countless times over the years I've known her.

Mere months ago I would have had the same reaction as her. In our last home, we had a state-of-the-art reverse osmosis water filtration system; only the purest of H's and O's made it through to our drinking water. When we moved to our rental home, it didn't have any filtration system at all, so we switched to bottled water.

But the thing is, we are on a budget. A serious budget. The paycheck-to-paycheck kind of budget (and sometimes we don't make it that far). Things have to give; items that were once necessities become luxuries.

Like bottled water.

At first I did the Sacrificial Mom thing and saved the bottled water for my kids, and I started to drink *gasp* tap water. It tasted...weird. Then I thought of how I grew up drinking municipal water (except for those years we had our own well), and how that water probably tasted very similar to what I was presently attempting to choke down.

Then I had a very interesting conversation with a friend in town whose husband is an environmental engineer; he just happens to study water. Guess what he drinks? And his kids?

Water from the tap.

He emphatically states our tap water is perfectly fine, and he knows it as well as anybody, and certainly better than most. He is so confident that it is safe his children have been drinking it from the moment they first swallowed something other than breast milk.

He's not alone; as much as forty percent of bottled water's source is from municipal taps. Furthermore, municipal water is regulated by the EPA...not so with some bottled water. So I started to feel better about drinking tap water and giving it to my kids.

Then I noticed how our recycling container wasn't as full as it had been, and how when I threw a container into it (our city provides each house with 65 gallon curbside recycling bins, half for paper products and half for plastic and glass containers) it tended to crash against glass rather than bounce off plastic. Hmmmmm...

That's right, now that we aren't buying bottled water by the gross we have greatly reduced not only our cash outflow, but also our plastic consumption. And that alone can't be a bad thing.

9 comments:

  1. Sometimes it is hard to know what to know anymore. I switched to bringing my own Sigg bottle to work instead of buying bottled water. But, I bring water from my house, which tastes better that the water here at work for some reason. At least I am cutting down on my consumption of plastic. I just home they don't come out with some study that says that my SIgg container has something that is poisoning me. Who knows?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't like the taste of tap water in my town. It also has an unsettling yellow tint to it during the daytime. It runs clear at night.

    We put a Pur filter on the tap and we pour that into the Brita pitcher. After 2 stages of filtration, it tastes just fine.

    I don't like the idea of consuming tons of plastic either.

    ReplyDelete
  3. We have a community well system that is only treated with chlorine. After going through the house filter, the faucet filter and the brita pitcher, we manage. Don't have a choice. Can't afford the bottled water either.

    ReplyDelete
  4. We always drink tap water... with a caveat! The water in our college town tasted NASTY so we bought a Brita pitcher. Now I'm in such a habit of having cold water that I like my water refrigerated. So I continue to use it. But a pack of filters every year is a LOT cheaper than bottled water!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree.

    At a recent neighborhood party I hosted a blind water tasting test. Tap, filtered tap, bottled, expensive fancy bottled. Know what won? Our neighborhood tap water, non-filtered. I know you are thinking, wow, Holly really knows how to party...

    But the point remains. Tap water. You don't know it is tap unless you served yourself. Hey, there is a catchy slogan.

    ReplyDelete
  6. We used to drink bottled too - but now you have to worry about what the bottle itself is putting in the water - so we're tapping it too.

    Pop on over to Pink Lemonade - you've been tagged!

    ReplyDelete
  7. we have been debating dumping the water service--for some strange reason our gas and grocery bills have gotten a *bit* higher than usual ;) and we are looking for ways to save money. After reading this, I might be making a phone call to the water guy!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Every penny counts. Trust me, our paychecks don't always make it to the next either. We drink tap water and none of us has ever sprouted a third eye :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Almost all bottled water comes from big municipal taps anyway. Really.

    We're lucky to have a water supply hooked up through our refrigerator so it goes through an extra filter before we drink it, and it's nice and cold, but it doesn't taste any different than the regular tap.

    ReplyDelete

Brilliant observations: