Mineral Water Types
Water is essential for life, but not all waters are created equally - and this is most certainly true of bottled waters. While many consumers appreciate the convenience of bottled, others are becoming increasing aware of the dubious quality of some bottled waters and there is considerable confusion in the marketplace. Here’s a quick primer for clarification.
- Water is essential for life, but not all waters are created equally - and this is most certainly true of bottled waters. While many consumers appreciate the convenience of bottled, others are becoming increasing aware of the dubious quality of some bottled waters and there is considerable confusion in the marketplace. Here’s a quick primer for clarification.
- Water has varying characteristics depending on its source. It is collected from surface sources such as rivers, streams, lakes and glaciers. It can also come from underground sources like wells, springs and aquifers.
- Tap or Municipal Water: In most places, public drinking water (tap or municipal water) comes from large wells, lakes, rivers, or reservoirs. It is treated to ensure it is safe for human consumption. The amount and type of treatment required differs according to the water source and its subsequent exposure to land and atmospheric pollutants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to monitor all public water systems and sets enforceable health standards.
- Bottled Waters: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees the safety and regulations for bottled drinking water, which is considered as a packaged food product. Bottled water is defined as ‘water that is sealed in bottles or other containers and intended for human consumption.’ Bottled water itself can range from regular tap water and purified water, to natural spring and mineral water. Waters with added carbonation, such as soda water (or club soda) and seltzer are defined as soft drinks. Artificially enhanced bottled waters, also known as functional waters, have added flavourings, colourings, vitamins, amino acids and electrolytes like sodium and potassium. These waters must list all added ingredients and calories on their label according to FDA regulations.
- Purified Water: This is municipal water that has been distilled, deionised, demineralised, undergone reverse osmosis or some other approved process and then been bottled. Simply put, it is treated tap water.
- Spring Water: Springs are naturally occurring water sources. Most occur in high elevations at the side of a rock formation where an underground aquifer is exposed allowing the water to flow freely. Spring water may be bottled at its source or by directly tapping into the underground aquifer. When spring water is collected from an underground source, it is known as artesian water. Some spring waters have a natural carbonisation and hence can be called “Sparkling“.
- Mineral water: According to FDA standards, mineral water must inherently contain naturally occurring dissolved solids; no minerals may be added to mineral water. Mineral waters are the result of ancient volcanic activity and resulting geothermal pressure within the earth’s crust. Water absorbs gases released from cooling magna resulting in carbonisation; this in turn enables the water to absorb minerals from the rock layers it filters through before collecting in deep aquifers, where they are protected from containments. It should be noted that not all mineral waters are effervescent. If there is also natural carbonisation, as the case with Gerolsteiner, the water can be classified as a “natural sparkling mineral water”. Gerolsteiner is naturally pure and pristine, a real treasure of the earth, with a very unique mineral balance that is not only exceptionally healthy but also offers a refreshing flavour.