Lissa Wohltmann chooses to protect the Earth’s environment rather than drink commercial bottled water.

“There’s no way I’m going to add all this plastic to landfills because I’m too lazy to open up the tap,” said Wohltmann, a member of the Edmond Running Club. However, she’ll drink bottled water when offered to her while running in a 10k race.

In San Francisco, Mayor Gavin Newsom banned the city from purchasing bottled water for environmental reasons.

“It takes a great deal of petroleum products and a lot of water to make the plastic products that bottled water come in,” said Fred Rice, the water resources superintendent for the City of Edmond.

Bottled water also requires additional energy for transport. Most plastic bottles are not recycled and take up to 1,000 years to decompose, he said.

A typical 20-ounce bottle of water purchased for $1.50 could be filled daily with tap water for 13 years for the same $1.50, Rice said.

The International Bottled Water Association reported in 2005 that bottled water was the second most popular commercial beverage by volume in the United States.

Second only to carbonated soft drinks, consumers purchased 7.5 billion gallons of bottled water.

In 2006, bottled water consumption increased by 9.7 percent, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation.

“Frankly, I would be concerned with a lot of bottled water purveyors and potential quality issues with the water,” Rice said.

Bottled water is regulated by the FDA if it crosses state lines and must meet state and federal requirements. However, commercial bottled water is not regulated as stringently as municipal drinking water facilities, Rice said.

Aquafina publicly admitted during recent weeks that the raw product they use is tap water. Rice said many bottled water companies filter tap water and label it as purified.

Some folks find chlorine problematic, Rice said. Chlorine is used to prevent bacterial growth in the distribution system of water.

Too much chlorine may form compounds with organic constituents in water that are linked to causing cancer, he said.

“We’re required to monitor the potential production of those constituents and we meet or exceed all of the requirements for them,” Rice explained.

In 2006, Rice conducted a blind taste test to identify city water and bottled water. Edmondites were invited to the city’s Utility Expo. More than half of the nearly 500 people surveyed incorrectly identified the water source, he said.



jcoburn@edmondsun.com | 341-2121, ext. 114

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