Heritage Restoration, Inc.

Drink your water, not bottled water

I care about water. Granted I waste a bit by taking a long shower or water the garden too long. But I am conscious of conserving water in other areas like cleaning dishes, rarely washing my truck, and drinking water. I get a bit freakish about drinking water. I have a “woobie” food cooler, which is by my side at all times. It travels with me wherever I go, having everything I need for the day like snacks, meals, coffee and PLENTY of water. I get crazy about having enough of my own water, since I will suck a cotton ball before I buy bottled water. Why? I am not fooled about the advantage of bottled water, since there isn’t any except convenience and laziness. Getting near free, good quality water is easy.

Finding out about the harmful affects of harvesting, manufacturing, consuming and disposing of bottled water is not hard. Across the world, bottled water plastic makes up over 1.5 million tons of waste a year. The majority of bottles are thrown away even though the bottles are prime quality plastic for recycling. A bottle that took about 10 minutes to drink will take anywhere from 450 to 1000 years to bio degrade. And don’t forget about the oil for manufacturing and transporting the bottles, which is tens of millions of gallons per year. Three times the amount of water is used to make a plastic bottle as the amount that fills it. Outraged by the cost of gasoline? You pay 3 times the cost of gas for water, costing pennies from home. Globally, corporate rights versus public rights to water are being threatened.

Bottled water may be no better than unfiltered tap water, since there are more regulations on tap water. Municipal water sources are considered drinkable, and you can look up or call them about their required annual tests, called the Consumer Confidence Report. Although since there are flavors or contaminants that can be picked up along the way or from the source, you should get your water tested. Identifying what is in your water makes it easier to match it with the right filter. If you have well water, get it tested a few times a year. Using a whole house water filtration system for well water makes it drinkable and keeps your pipes happy too. Water tests can be about $100.

If you don’t want to test it, and don’t mind the taste, get a simple store bought filtration system since they are pre-designed to work with typical tap water. If you buy a bottle of water a day for a year, you would be able to buy a high quality under the counter system twice. A good quality under the counter system can be about $200, and a countertop version is about $20. The filters can last from 6 months to two years. Here’s what to look for in a filter:
 Filters can use a combination of technologies or just one. It all depends on what you want to get rid of.
 Verify that a filter is certified for the removable of a claimed contaminant by a reputable, independent agency. Certifications are not all the same. It may certify that a filter will improve water’s taste and odor but not necessarily guarantee that it will remove any specific contaminants. Read the fine print.
 Filters can vary in quality, and cost may dictate quality. Look for third party or customer reviews.

The right filter can improve taste, reduce lead, and kill microbes. In the past I filtered municipal water with an under the counter coconut carbon filter bought for about $250, with each filter lasting about 2 years. My sink had an open hole in the top so the filter’s tap could run right through it. You can also drill a hole in your counter top. It was easy to attach to my cold water supply. I now use my refrigerator’s filter, replacing it twice a year for about $45 each time. Write on the filter when you need to replace it, or put a reminder in your phone’s calendar. There are plenty of good quality reusable bottles that can be easily cleaned. And if you don’t finish your water, you don’t have to feel guilty giving it to the plants.

Some helpful links:
University of Rhode Island: http://www.uri.edu/ce/wq/has/PDFs/Residential.pdf
RI Department of Health: http://www.health.ri.gov/drinkingwaterquality/for/privatewellowners/

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