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Where Do You Stand

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October 3, 2005

Chlorinated water
So, the government says water has to be filtered, right? Well, our water is filtered with a sand filter installed by our local government. But it doesn't work. So they use chlorine, awful chlorine that makes it so you can't even take a shower without your eyes turning red. So we filter our water with Pur filters and shower filters. Why? Unfiltered, our water has so much chlorine that I can test it with our pool test kit! You've gotta think that that stuff can't be good for you...

— Emily, Redding, CA

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September 20, 2005

Bottled Water healthier????? I don't think so..
In the early 90's when bottled water was starting to become all the rage, one of the local T.V. stations (KPIX or KRON) did a comparison test of the quality and taste of various bottled waters along with local tap water from San Francisco, San Jose and I believe Marin. They reported (in conclusion of the test) that "THERE WAS VIRTUALLY NO DIFFERENCE IF ANY AT ALL" in the healthiness of bottled water versus tap water. The only real noticeable difference was in the taste. I don't believe most people know this. I find it ironic that bottled plastic water is suppose to be a symbol of a healthy lifestyle. Do these same people know also that approximatley more than 50% of these plastic bottles (and I believe I'm being conservative) never get recycled and creating even more problems for the envirnmonment. If only people resused their plastic water bottles even just once or twice, think of how much waste we could save. People forget also that it takes the burning of fossil fuels to create this plastic and that affects the air we breathe. Bottled plastic water healthier, I don't think so. And at what cost to the environment? I think I'll stick to good ol' water from the faucet. I wonder whether the victims of Hurricane Katrina would be complaining about clean water to drink from their faucets?

— Wesley, San Francisco, CA

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August 11, 2005

Water rights?
Read the book "Water for Sale" by Swedish author Fredrik Segerfeldt. The author uses real world examples of why water is too important to be controlled by corrupt, incompetent and unaccountable government authorities. Private industry has in numerous cases provided more and better water at much less expense to people in third world countries.

— Jim, Austin, TX

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May 8, 2005

You've made a convert!
I've always wondered whether I really needed to buy bottled water, or if I was just throwing money away. My kids actually need the flouride, so I bought bottled water with fluoride for the longest time. I for one will refill my bottles and stop wasting money on something so elemental. Even if tap water has its problems, it doesn't seem like bottled water solves them. Thanks for educating the masses!

— Shala, Phoenix, AZ

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May 2, 2005

I Never Drink From the Tap
I live in LA and I don't even wash my food, cook or drink from the tap. Our water is contaminated with perchlorate (rocket fuel), arsenic and a cocktail of other compounds. I'm in the market for a countertop distiller even though it uses energy and a long time to distill a gallon of water.

I walk to the water store. Yes, we have water stores. They have a bank of stainless steel machines that put the water through five or six different processes including UV light, charcoal and I forget what else. It costs 25 cents a gallon and I push my little-old-lady grocery cart with my #7 polycarbonate bottles, 3-gal, two-gal with spout and one gallon that I take back and forth to work. I walk to work, too, so I really feel like a drudge. I live in an 80 year-old apt. bldg. and the water is turned off regularly for repairs. When it goes back on it looks like strong tea. I run all taps strong for ten minutes to get it clear. It never really looks clean.

LA gets water from several sources including the Colorado River, whose tributaries are polluted with mercury among other things, and northern CA. All our water is imported. All supermarkets have one or more filtering dispensers near the entrances. My neighborhood market, which is Korean, has a sodium-free filtering dispenser inside the store and that water is a nickel more per gallon.

When I go home to northern CA, I drink from the tap even though I know the water has asbestos in it. Its storage facility, on the way to its destination in San Francisco, is a deep ravine which is the San Andreas fault. Nobody knew the water was asbestos-ridden until the electron microscope was invented and the asbestos could be seen. At least this is what I've been told. It tastes a lot better than LA water, even with asbestos.

When I go really, really, home to way-northern CA, we drink spring water, which can be delicious and sweet. Depending upon where you are, it can also be contaminated with e-coli and/or agricultural runoff, dead and rotting animals or leaded gasoline from abandoned country gas stations. I've seen all.

The story of water is the story of California. Read Joan Didion on the plumbing of the state. She, like me, is a many-generational native and I believe we both lament the changes.

— Pam, Los Angeles, CA

Note: Visit the companion site to POV's film, "Thirst," to read Joan Didion's essay, "Holy Water." »

— POV's Borders Staff

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April 28, 2005

Napa Valley's well kept secret
I live in the beautiful Napa Valley. My family came here in the 1870's. This valley is so well-known for its grapes and beauty. The locals here know that the Napa River is one of the most polluted rivers in California. Something they forgot to tell the tourists? I think not! The wine industry uses vast amounts of chemicals in the vineyards and therefore they end up washing down into the Napa River. Instead of using this tragic example of where chemicals end up, my city has hidden this issue. I have asked Napa County to test for chemicals and pesticides in our tap water but have been unsuccessful to this point. Safe water? There are dead floating fish in our river! There should be a study regarding the high concentration of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides used in the wine industry and its effect to the water table here in Napa California!

— Elizabeth, Napa, CA

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April 19, 2005

Working next to the Newtown Creek
My husband and I have a small business which has been located 20 feet from the Newtown Creek for 12 years. I have to admit I never knew that the Newtown Creek had the distinction of being the most polluted river in the U.S. Often you cannot be outside because of the terrible smell. I am really shocked that this situation has been allowed to continue. New York is hoping to host the Olympics and is proposing housing for the athletes in that area. What a memory those athletes would have of our neighborhood and city!

— Pam, Long Island City, NY

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March 14, 2005

Back to Basics
I live in Los Angeles and am amazed how much we rely on bottled water. I can understand this for developing countries where water resources are scarce or seriously polluted, but the water distribution infrastructure in Los Angeles is fairly stable and up to modern standards... so why not get back to basics and demand good safe drinking water from our govt! I for one filter my water at home and take the same water on the road. Just do your homework, find out what impurities to filter out and buy the filter that works for your needs. We need to start demanding clean water again to our taps... bottling all the water on this planet is going to bring us to our knees financially and spritually.

— Reiss, Los Angeles, CA

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February 20, 2005

integrated water systems
I'm designing an integrated water system for my house. I've a notion that I could store rainwater cleanly and drink it, that the dirty water from the washing might be cycled to the wc [water closet, bathroom] fairly simply and mechanically and maybe an undersink filter for drinking water. Most important of all is to not s*** in it! So there may be a dry compost toilet on the outside wall!!! And urine is sooo good for plants and accelerating compost that it will be saved. (How is in my book). So, if you have additions to this or you're just interested in the idea, why not reply. Let's chat.

— Roberta, Bristol, UK

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February 9, 2005

Refilling water bottles
We always have this debate at home. I'd like to know why the bottled water is only good if someone else in an uncontrolled, uninspected plant has bottled it. If I wash the bottle out well and refill it from our water filtering system at home, is it not supposed to be good for us??

— Alan, Ottawa, Ca

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January 24, 2005

You never know
I lived in a very old house about 15 years ago, and the water would ocassionally come out of the faucet as dark as tea (really!). I also heard that the local water was contaminated by parasites at one point (due to geese pooping in the water supply). I bought a distiller, which is very cheap in the long run. That lasted about 4 years and then it broke, but I never went back. I now live in an old house again, and the water is sometimes very dark and always has a metallic taste, so I use Brita. I'll buy bottled water if I go out without my home-filled bottle, but I have a fear of water fountains (bubblers, if you are from Boston).

— Bob, Seattle, WA

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December 8, 2004

I'm amazed
Reading the stories on this page, I'm amazed at the lack of public knowlege of what "good" drinking water is.

"Good" drinking water should: A. have a pH similar to your body (7.2 - 7.6); B. contain proper levels of calcium, magnesium and phosphorus (water without these elements will actully leach these elements from your body); C. be free of chlorine and other chemicals; and D. be sanitized to remove all bacteria and algae. Using the above requisites, I would believe that no person reading this has "good" drinking water, from tap or bottle!!

— Michael, Phoenix, AZ

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November 27, 2004

Re-use or re-cycle
I, too, re-use soft drink and water bottles which I fill from my filtered tap. Houston's water tastes okay, if cold. Better if filtered. What gets me is people who drink bottled water, thinking they are taking care of their bodies, then they throw the bottle and cap away... to go in the landfill. That isn't taking care of our earth.

— Mary, Houston, TX

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October 6, 2004

Our Water's Fine
We drink it every day, and we reuse water bottles. I also reuse orange juice bottles because they're made of heavier plastic.

If I'm on the way to the bathroom to refill my water and stop at someone's desk to talk, they'll inevitably pull their trash can out from under their desk for me to throw my bottle away. The look of horror they get when I tell them I'm going to refill my bottle is priceless!

I refill it in the bathroom with tap water because the water fountain water is too cold (sensitive teeth). Co-workers ask me, "Are you going to DRINK that?" Well, of course I am, it's not like the water in the bathroom faucet came straight from the toilet! LOL

We are very fortunate to have good water, it comes from the mountains and is on State Property where no one is allowed to swim, fish, hike etc.... In fact, there is one kind of bottled water that's from this area but I forget which one.

— Tish, South Central Pennsylvania

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September 14, 2004

My river's dying
I live quite close to a river. It's called the Adaja. It used to be a lovely place. I'd walk along it and not bother at all. But things are changing. They've bulldozed some small fields that were next to the path. Now there's houses, rows and rows of them. All the same. In summer the river dries up. You can see everything. Including the pipe that pours waste into it. Further downstream another pipe pours sewage. It stinks. Last summer they started a sort of hole in the ground. The water's supposed to go in it instead of flooding during the winter. They're still working on it this summer. To be able to they've dried up the river. Under the bridge there's lots of large rocks. The water (what's left of it) has formed into stagnant pools. It stinks. This usually happens but never as much as this. You can see the scum on the surface. My river's dying and I can't help it.

— Norah, Ávila, Spain

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September 13, 2004

a guy from the land of 10,000 lakes reviews nyc water
I'm from minnesota where there's, well, lots and lots of water. While visiting Brooklyn some years back I noticed how NOBODY drank soda from the can w/out using straws. So of course I assumed the tap water was not even close to being potable.

Wrong. I never did any testing of course, but it was some of the clearest and best tasting water I've ever had.

— Andy, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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September 12, 2004

Necessary Evil
Long story short version: I've always laughed (and still do) at water purists who take great pains to flaunt their manufactured H2O of choice. My simple stance: Phoenix water is horrible. I take my five gallon plactic jug to the vendor around the corner, fill the jug for $1.25 and replace it at home on my water stand. I bought a one gallon plastic jug of water and a small bottled water both of which I reuse continuously at work. I tote the one gallon to my favorite "watering hole" and transport it back to work. The small reusable water bottle I carry with me all day at work occasionally refilling it from the one gallon bottle. The plastic lasts practically forever and I feel good that I don't have to pay plastic prices because I reuse. I wish Phoenix water were good but recycling this way is a small price to pay both figuratively and literally.

— LB, Phoenix, Arizona

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August 24, 2004

Stop Polluting Our Earth
Me and my friend would like to say thanks to the people that don't pollute and to ask all the people who do to stop because your hurting our environment and us. Our health is at risk with every piece of litter we drop. All it takes is a piece of litter a day to make our world golden. My class has been studying pollution, and I am surprised were even alive. Birds are dying from poisoned fish. Sadly, most people don't think about our Earth, which is why we have a hole in the ozone.

— Joanna and Moana, Brisbane, Australia

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Newtown Creek
I was born 70 years ago in L.I.C. Queens, practically on the shore of Newtown Creek. Many a time I walked or hitched on the back of the trolly car across the old, now gone, Penny Bridge. The creek itself was often my playground. Even then it was too polluted to swim in, and I even added to it with all the junk my friends and I threw into it (kids will be kids). Today my honest feeling is that it should be backfilled, and a whole lot of new land created. Think of the value to the city of so much acreage for sale. That, together with the present development in L.I.C. and Greenpoint, would make it highly desireable, and add considerably to the tax base.

— Mike, Long Island City, NY

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July 13, 2004

Water and Home Appropriation by Eminent Domain
Think of an entity that can go anywhere in your state, take your property by eminent domain for the purpose of laying a water pipeline, withdraw millions of gallons of water from a nearby aquifer, cause your well and possibly hundreds of your neighbors' wells to go dry, then leave you with no legal recourse to rectify the situation. That's your friendly municipality in the State of Ohio.

— Sam, OH

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July 10, 2004

Fresh Squeezed Water
About 2 years ago I put a water treatment system on my house. There is a special unit under the sink for the fresh squeezed water and a larger unit in the hot water heater room for the soft water for bathing and washing dishes and clothes. I always fill my bottles before I leave the house. When I forget, sometimes, I do have to buy a bottle of water. I see no need to throw away all those nice little bottles, just refill them.They tend to last a long time.

— Maria, SC

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July 6, 2004

Not So Odd Anymore
We reuse our water bottles, washing them and refilling them with tap water. It seems odd to some, but it seems to becoming more common. For people trying to live on a budget it only seems sensible to reuse bottles rather than spending loads of money on something you can get from your own tap. Now everyone at work refills their Dasani and Aquafina bottles, and you have to be careful not to grab someone else's water instead of your own bottle.

— Jennifer

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