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My Bottled Water Review

This is a list of the bottled water I would personally choose to drink when traveling.

First and foremost I recommend that you drink bottled water that comes from the region in which you live.  This eliminates excessive energy costs associated with transportation.

Next, I recommend natural spring water that has certain physical characteristics that I think are healthy.  To compile this list I have reviewed each of the company’s water quality analyses and looked for contaminants I would be concerned about.  Absent these, I look at pH, which in my view would ideally be 7.2 or higher (up to a point) and total dissolved solids (TDS) which in my view should be between 30 and 220.

Finally, if you can find a local spring water packaged in glass that is better than plastic.  The benefit of plastic and the reason it has become so common is that it lightens the payload of the trucks that move the product around, thus saving transportation energy.  And it doesn’t break.  Still, glass won’t leach chemicals into your water.  Plastic might.  Pthalates and Bisphenol-A may leach from plastic bottles.  These contaminants should be taken seriously and drinking water from plastic bottles should be limited. To be on the safe side, keep any water bottled in plastic out of the heat.  In my view, low pH (meaning purified water) increases the likelihood of leaching. A recent study has also determined that bottled water contains up to hundreds of thousands of tiny plastic particles from the bottle itself. No one knows what health impact these may have. If you really care about drinking good contaminant free water buy the appropriate drinking water filter for you location

There are numerous criticisms of bottled water and in particular water bottled in plastic.  I think that bottled water has an appropriate role when traveling and in a few other instances.  These suggestions are not meant as an endorsement of bottled water or to belittle the criticism, though some of the criticisms are exaggerated or biased.  Drinking bottled water is a lot better for you than drinking soft drinks.

The following are spring waters that I recommend you drink when traveling:


Northeast –


Summit Spring – Natural Maine Spring Water – apparently this water is untreated in any way.  The test results show a pH of 6, which is low, and a tds of 59.



Poland Spring Natural Spring Water, owned by Nestle’, bottled from springs in Maine. pH may be acidic to slightly alkaline. TDS is low.



East and Southeast –


Deer Park Spring Water, owned by Nestle’, was originally bottled from a spring in Deer Park, MD, but is now bottled from springs ranging from Maine to Florida and Tennessee.  pH is acidic to alkaline. TDS is good. Nitrates are marginal in one or more of the sources. 





Zephyrhills Natural Spring Water, owned by Nestle’, bottled from 3 springs in Florida. pH is alkaline. Tds is good.  Nitrates are high, suggesting ag or septic contamination, at 2.1 in one of the sources. 



South – Georgia and Alabama


Springtime Artesian Water – apparently still a relatively small bottled water company, Southern Beverage Packers, Inc. in Appling, Georgia, bottled from ‘the deep crystalline rock aquifer’ in the Appalachian Foothills.  They provided me a test (via snail mail) which shows a pH of 6.5 and tds of 120.  Traces of fluoride, manganese, and barium.



South/Midwest –


Mountain Valley Spring Water – bottled in glass, originates from springs in Arkansas. pH is alkaline (8) with a tds of 220. pH is a tad high. Based on their water quality report and glass packaging they would receive my highest rating.


Ice Mountain Spring Water – originates in a variety of springs in MI, PA, MD, and TN.  pH varies from acidic at 6.2 to alkaline at 8.2. TDS varies from 40 to 230.  These characteristics are all acceptable although it would be nice to have a specific report for each local source. 


Upper Midwest –


Arctic Sol – originates from springs in Jackson County, MI.  A family owned business as of this writing. pH is 7.2 and tds is 320 (somewhat high).   


Rocky Mountain States –


Biota Colorado Pure Rocky Mountain Spring Water, sourced from a spring outside of Ouray, Colorado. pH is 7.3, TDS is 200, calcium and sulfates are a tad high but Biota gets my highest rating. NOTE: Biota has now been found to be contaminated by surface influences. No longer for sale as far as I know. 6-7-23


Eldorado Natural Spring Water, sourced from a spring in Elodorado Canyon outside of Denver, pH of 7.2, TDS of 88, would qualify this water for my highest rating except that it is bottled in plastic.


AquaVista - owned by Aqua Vista Bottling Company in Worland WY. Water is from an artesion well at the base of the Big Horn Mountains. I'd seen a water report in the past that made me decide to add it to this list but I do not find it now on their website.    





Ozarka Spring Water, now owned by Nestle’, bottled from a number of springs in east Texas. pH is low, tds is good, nitrates are borderline at 2.0 in some of these sources. 



California –


Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, owned by Nestle’, originally bottled from springs in the San Bernadino mountains, but now sourcing from numerous springs in California. pH is slightly acidic to alkaline and TDS ranges from low to 260, which is slightly high.     


Northwest -


Earth H2O, owned by Sweetwater Co Inc, a small business based in Culver, OR. Water is bottled from Opal Springs. pH is 8.2, so alkaline, and TDS is 100. I prefer a lower pH. Distribution region is the Northwest. "The water is in 100% recycled PET bottles that we produce here at Earth2o."



Notes to the Reader:

I have not been paid to develop this list. 

The Nestle’ company owns a number of the bottled waters I recommend due to their having purchased independent brands over the years.

While this is unfortunate it has nothing to do with the quality of the water and therefore has not influenced my selection. I am not endorsing Nestle' or any other company or thier practices. What I am doing is letting you know which bottled waters I would drink based entirely on their contents.

I have personally looked at the water quality of each bottled water I recommend. These are, or were, available online.

Another company, DS Waters, has also been buying up local spring water companies. Unfortunately I’ve called this company at least a half dozen times and can only reach a salesman.  They have one generic report for all of their bottled water and are apparently incapable of providing greater detail. Therefore I am unable to recommend any of their brands even though some might be good.

The idea of bottled water has been criticized heavily by some environmental groups including Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).  Both of these groups exaggerate greatly the alleged dangers of drinking bottled water and have really scared the public into thinking it is dangerous.  Bottled water is rigorously tested and generally safer to drink than tap water, which is carcinogenic. My view is these groups should focus on criticizing soft drinks which really are harmful to your health.

When some people suggest that bottled water is just tap water, that is true but has been treated with filtration including carbon filtration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light. That makes it purified water.

Drinking bottled water is expensive both economically and environmentally.  I only drink bottled water when I travel and then only when I don’t take my filtered water from home with me.  It is for this reason that I have provided you with this brief guide on the waters I would select myself.

There are numerous bottled waters.  If a particular brand is not on this list, then I do not recommend that you buy it.  If you know of a brand that you think should be on the list you can email me the link to its water quality report and I’ll consider adding it unless I’ve already considered it but I don't have time to respond to individual queries about bottled water. In my view the best water is appropriately filtered water from your tap. 

Here is a more detailed description of the differences between various types of bottled water. I use these criteria in determining what I recommend: 

Which Bottled Water Is The Best?



James P McMahon, ecologist



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