We can’t live without water to drink. Whether you reach for a glass, head to the faucet, or choose bottled water, both are safe options. Tap water and bottled water both originate as surface water in our lakes and rivers or start out as groundwater. Bottled water comes from many of the same sources as tap water. Sometimes bottled water is just public tap water that has been enhanced in some way, such as changing the mineral content. All drinking water quality is regulated to ensure that it meets safety standards—tap water by the U.S. EPA and bottled water by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
However, drinking tap water is much more wallet-friendly than bottled water. Bottled water is expensive for a number of reasons: the plastic water bottles, the manufacturing costs, and the time and money it takes to transport heavy containers filled with bottled water to your local store. You can fill a 32-ounce reusable bottle for about a penny, whereas just a 16-ounce single-use bottle of water costs on average $1.50. Remember to bring a reusable water bottle to refill when you need water. Many public places even have water bottle refill stations, including Stafford’s George L. Gordon, Jr., Government Center.
Not only is drinking tap water more affordable than bottled water, but it is far better for the environment. Single-use bottled water is harmful to the planet as it uses fossil fuels to make and transport. Plastic is forever, as petroleum-based plastics do not decompose. Instead, plastics break apart into tiny pieces called microplastics that are toxic and never go away. When plastic is incinerated it emits toxic air pollutants. Some plastic can be recycled, but in addition to high energy costs, those new products cause all of the same problems. According to the Container Recycling Institute, less than 20% of bottles are recycled, and bottled water produces up to 1.5 million tons of plastic waste each year.
Drinking tap water just “makes cents” as it is both more affordable and less harmful to the planet. Stafford County Utilities is committed to ensuring that high-quality water is available every time you reach for your tap. To learn more about your tap water, please visit our website and check out Stafford County's 2022 Annual Water Quality Report .