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Bottled vs tap water in Arizona

A woman walks past a display of spring water at the Market Place at Reserve Square Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2004 in Cleveland. Rules proposed by the Department of Agriculture would require that bottled water labeled

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A woman walks past a display of spring water at the Market Place at Reserve Square Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2004 in Cleveland. Rules proposed by the Department of Agriculture would require that bottled water labeled "spring" must disclose the location of the spring. If ordinary tap water is sold in a bottle, it will have to be clearly labeled. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Heidi Wagenbach, Staff writer

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I recently converted from drinking tap to bottled water. I’ve heard those ugly rumors about how disgusting tap water is and how many dangerous minerals can be lurking in the liquid that flows through the pipes. I didn’t really acknowledge it until I bought a filter. I went through changing a package of filters in about two weeks, so I determined either our water in Arizona is really gross, or the filters were poorly made. I decided then that filters were far too expensive to keep buying every two weeks compared to bottled water, which is about 79-99 cents per gallon at the local Fry’s.

The 2000 movie “Erin Brockovich starring Julia Roberts made viewers very cautious about drinking tap water. The long term effects of drinking unfiltered tap water, such as cancer, is truly an eye opener. But do we have this in Arizona? Based on the article, “Report: Arizona’s tap water found to have high amounts of cancer-causing chemical” by Corbin Carson, “The report found 79 of 80 samples from around Phoenix (taken by the city of Phoenix for an EPA study), contained ‘by far the highest average level’ of chromium-6 of any major U.S. city.” However, Troy Hayes, an assistant director of the Phoenix Water Services Department, confirms our water is “safe” later on in the same article.

Arizona goes through so many health and safety precautions when dealing with the water that is being used by millions of citizens. According to the official City of Phoenix website, “Phoenix water meets or exceeds all federal and state requirements for health and safety.” Then why are so many articles being released with conflicting reports of  tap water containing a deadly chemical?

AZCentral confirmed with another article, “’Erin Brockovich’ toxin found in metro Phoenix drinking water;” Phoenix has 7.9 parts per billion of chromium 6 in valley drinking water. This sample study also provided an assurance from Doug Kupel, deputy director of water services in Glendale, that “the higher levels dwell in groundwater that contributes far less to the water supply than surface water.” Another source, the Donley Service Center, claimed: “Among all major U.S. cities, Phoenix drinking water had ‘by far the highest average level’ of chromium 6 present.”

There is good news even though  the water in Arizona doesn’t sound super great. Chromium 6 is found in groundwater, and 98 percent of Phoenix tap is made of surface water, according to Donley Service Center. And, mentioned before, millions of tests are made each year to confirm that the water is safe for human consumption. There are always going to be risks from drinking from the tap and many other minerals, like calcium or man-made disinfectant chemicals can be swimming inside, based on the article by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. This website further mentioned that children or people with weaker immune systems should avoid drinking tap water if it does not meet health standards and could possibly contain lead or other impurities.

Some easy solutions are abailable if you are cautious about getting water from the tap. Reverse osmosis filtration systems, according to Donley Service Center, are a reasonable option, eliminating the taste and taking out the hard water worries. Reader’s Digest also mentions faucet mounted or pitcher filters and even a whole house system is available; these purifying systems can add up to thousands of dollars, so if this is a consideration, remember the pricing but also the long term effects as well.

Is it worth it?  

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Bottled vs tap water in Arizona