Empty plastic water bottles on white

Is Your Bottled Water Really Tap Water Under a Different Name?

Bottled water has become extremely popular over the last several years because people want an alternative to drinking water straight from the tap. However, you might be surprised to learn that bottled water is often tap water with a few modifications made to it. You might also consider that bottled water is expensive and creates tons of plastic bottle waste each year that people do not always recycle. The good news is you can get the same great taste of bottled water by installing a Berkey water filter to your kitchen faucet instead.

Tap Water and Bottled Water Have the Same Quality Standards

Bottled water may taste better, but it is not necessarily healthier or safer than tap water, according to the Government of Canada. Because Canada regulates bottled water as a food, manufacturers must comply with Section 4 of the Food and Drugs Act. This section prohibits selling food or beverages containing harmful ingredients.

Section 5 of the act disallows the selling, packaging, labelling, treating, or processing of any food or beverage that misleads consumers about its quantity, value, composition, character or safety. Part 12 of the Food and Drugs Act specifically regulates bottled water in terms of acceptable treatments, labelling, and microbiological standards. By contrast, provinces and territories regulate tap water. Health Canada has prepared a publication titled Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality that provincial and territorial governments follow.

Understanding the Types of Bottled Water Available in Canada

Mineral or spring water packaged and sold as bottled water originates from underground sources and is not part of a community water supply. These types of bottled water must be appropriate for human consumption at their origination point. Typically, mineral water contains more dissolved mineral salts than spring water does. Bottled water manufacturers cannot subject mineral or spring water to any type of treatment that alters its original composition. The only treatments manufacturers can add include:

  • Carbon dioxide that creates carbonated water
  • Fluoride for the prevention of dental cavities
  • Ozone for disinfection purposes

Manufacturers that do not label bottled water as mineral or spring water can obtain it from any source and treat it to make it fit for human consumption. Bottled water manufacturers not selling mineral or spring water can modify the original composition of water they obtained from any other source, including tap water. They also need to include the treatment used to modify the original composition of the water, such as removing minerals or adding carbonation.

Only Manufacturers Selling Mineral or Spring Bottled Water Must Identify the Water Source

When you buy mineral or spring bottled water, the label must indicate the geographic location where the manufacturer obtained it. Canada currently does not require other bottled water manufacturers to indicate the source of the water, only modifications they make to it. Consumers must contact the company selling the bottled water if they want to know the source.

Why Pay for Processed Tap Water When You Can Get a Berkey Water Filter for Less?

The Government of Canada states that both bottled water and tap water are safe for human consumption and must meet or exceed its safety standards. However, you can improve the taste of tap water yourself by installing a Berkey water filter at home or at work. The process is simple and allows you to say good-bye to small individual bottles of water that produce tremendous waste. You can even get rid of your multi-gallon bottled water dispenser if you have one.

Based in Collingwood, Ontario, Conscious Water offers water systems, filters, parts, and accessories to ensure that the water you drink is safe, affordable, healthful, and delicious.

“The First Wealth is Health.” 

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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