Bottled Water vs Reverse Osmosis Water
A Comparison for Albuquerque Consumers
When you’re thirsty, do you reach for a bottle of water from the fridge or a vending machine, or do you grab a glass and head to the kitchen tap? If you’re like a lot of New Mexicans, you may have the idea that bottled water is purer, cleaner, better for you. But is this actually true? We’ve all heard about chemicals, bacteria, viruses, minerals and other impurities in tap water. While many of the stories are true, there is actually a lot of regulation and monitoring of public and municipal water supplies. That’s not necessarily the case with bottled water. Instead of the EPA, bottled water is regulated by the FDA, with different requirements for testing and even reporting. Aging pipes and industrial contaminants can still lead to serious health issues when people regularly drink tap water, and the plastic bottles used by water bottlers have chemicals that can accumulate in the water inside.
What’s more, much of the bottled water for sale today comes from municipal water sources. What does that mean? That it’s someone else’s tap water! One estimate is that 64% of bottled water is just that. While most bottlers who use municipal water also use reverse osmosis in their bottling process, think about the cost. Sure, in the Albuquerque area you can get a 40-pack of store brand bottled water for about $4. You’ll pay more for a name brand. It doesn’t seem like a big expense until you think about how much you’re actually buying.
Another consideration is the environmental impact of plastic water bottles. They are typically a good quality plastic that can be recycled. But most people don’t. In 2011, National Parks in the US were given permission to ban bottled water. Plastics tend to stick around for a very long time, they don’t decompose easily. They can clog waterways and beaches, and harm wildlife. The chemicals in the plastic bottle will leach into the water, especially when heat is involved. It’s not a good idea to keep bottled water in your car, for example. Especially here in the Albuquerque metro, summer heat can make the temperature inside your car 150 degrees or more. Over time, this degrades the chemicals in the plastic bottle, allowing them to infiltrate the water inside.
Let’s talk a little about Reverse Osmosis System water. What is it? How does it work? Does it really purify water? These are typical questions from people who aren’t familiar with the process. Reverse Osmosis is a process of sequential filtering, to remove any molecules that are larger than water molecules. The end result is pure water. Reverse Osmosis removes salt, sediment, bacteria, parasites, and chemicals. Around the world, access to clean drinking water is a serious problem. Drought, contamination, and depth of any available ground water have made people turn to the oceans. Reverse Osmosis can remove the salt from sea water. In Perth, Australia, 17% of their municipal water is actually desalinated sea water!
The science behind Reverse Osmosis is pretty interesting. Here’s a quick lesson in layman’s terms. Water molecules want to be in balance. When there are particles or molecules of something dissolved in water, it’s called being in solution. The water itself is usually referred to as a solvent. When you put equal quantities of water (solvent) on one side of a semi-permeable membrane, usually a type of plastic with billions of microscopic holes in it, and the solution on the other, you can observe the movement of the water through the membrane, to the solution side, because the molecules are trying to achieve balance. The water molecules in the solution are actually attracting the water (solvent), to get back in balance. This is called osmotic pressure. You end up with more liquid in the solution side than the plain water side. Since this isn’t quite what we want, we reverse the process. We don’t want to create balance, we want the dissolved particles out of the water altogether. The secret is applying pressure ourselves!
In a Reverse Osmosis system, there is one tank of saltwater (tap water is used, with salt pellets added), and one tank of plain water, separated by a semi-permeable membrane. To counteract the osmotic pressure that naturally occurs, we can pressurize the saltwater side, forcing it through the membrane. The membrane keeps the salt molecules out because of their size. Water molecules will pass through, to the plain water side. The plain water then passes through other filters to make sure other smaller molecules such as viruses and chemicals are also removed from the water. It’s a continuous process, with the tap water flowing to the salt tank, and then processed through the system, removing more impurities with each step. Reverse Osmosis can remove 99% of dissolved contaminants in tap water.
It sounds complicated, but the systems are actually quite small and require very little upkeep. Our Reverse Osmosis systems we install in the Albuquerque metro area will fit under the kitchen sink, and have their own tap. Turn it on, and fill a glass or stainless steel thermos, and you’ve got the equivalent of your own bottled water, at a fraction of the cost. The water you use for drinking and cooking will be pure and clear, giving you peace of mind. Think about that $4 40-pack of bottled water we talked about earlier, how long does that last? Less than a week? It’s heavy. You have to go to the store to get it. With the current COVID-19 crisis, bottled water has been hard to find or limited per person. And, you probably don’t use your bottled water for cooking.
A Puronics Reverse Osmosis system installed by MicroPure fits neatly under your kitchen sink. You’ll have a separate tap to use for cooking and drinking water, while still allowing you to use your regular tap water faucet for washing up.
Here’s where the cost savings you can achieve by installing a Reverse Osmosis system come in. Over the long term, the dollars saved add up. If your family uses 80 of the 16.9 oz bottles of water a week, which is a conservative estimate, that’s $416 a year, just on bottled water for the least expensive option.
Also consider that using purified water in cooking, in your morning coffee, even in your pet’s water bowl keeps any contaminants out of your food and allows pets to have high quality water as well. For those with health issues or concerns about pesticides and heavy metals in the water, Reverse Osmosis is an effective way to make sure you’re not putting those into your body. Picture your last spaghetti dinner. You put dry pasta into the boiling water. It softens by absorbing some of the hot water. There’s an Italian saying that your pasta water should be as salty as the Mediterranean Sea, because some of the salt will absorb into the pasta, giving it a better flavor. But, anything else that’s also dissolved in the water, like chemicals, will also be absorbed by the pasta. You just really don’t know what could potentially be in your tap water.
At MicroPure, we’re convinced that a Puronics Reverse Osmosis system is your best option. It has a relatively low up-front cost, with major benefits both in time, money, and environmental concerns. Wouldn’t you rather fill a glass or reusable container with pure water instead of driving to the store to pick up a heavy package of bottled water that most likely came from another city’s water supply at a huge markup? We offer residents of the Albuquerque metro areas top of the line Reverse Osmosis systems with professional, customer-oriented installation and maintenance, providing your family with safe, pure water for years to come.