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1. Salt Lake City Municipal water is safe, clean, and has been rated among the best tasting Municipal waters in the nation. From the tap, the water is better than required by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and the City works hard to keep it that way. Our watershed resources are protected, providing us with clean sources and the opportunity to provide very high quality water at the best possible price.
2. In 2007, Mayor Ross C. Anderson stated that Salt Lake City (City) facilities would no longer purchase bottled water, due to the negative affect it has on the environment. This chapter supports Mayor Anderson's policy, and extends not only to individually sized servings of water, but also to water purchased in large quantities for water coolers.
B. Social And Environmental Issues Related To Bottled Water: Americans bought a total of 8.3 million gallons of bottled water in 2006, sold in a variety of containers from small, single serving bottles to multi-gallon water cooler bottles. The increasing popularity of bottled drinking water has significant environmental and social impacts, from the energy used to produce the plastic containers and deliver filled bottles to consumers, to the concentrated water withdrawals near bottling facilities, to the plastic waste from discarded bottles. By choosing tap water over bottled water, institutions can significantly reduce negative environmental impacts.
C. Energy And Emissions:
1. Pumping, bottling, transporting and chilling bottled water is energy inefficient compared to using the existing network of reservoirs, storage tanks and pipes that furnish tap water to most homes and buildings in the United States.
2. Bottles themselves are a major environmental concern. Ninety six percent (96%) of the bottled water sold in the U.S. in 2005 was sold in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) containers, most of which were packaged in single serve sizes of one liter (1l) or less. PET is derived from petroleum; producing these bottles required the energy use equivalent of more than seventeen million (17,000,000) barrels of oil, and produced over two and one-half million (2,500,000) tons of carbon dioxide. This is the same amount of carbon dioxide that would be emitted by over four hundred thousand (400,000) passenger vehicles in one year.
D. Limited Recycling: Most plastic water bottles end up as trash. In 2004, only fourteen and one-half percent (141/2%) of noncarbonated beverage bottles made from PET were recycled. Of those recycled, forty percent (40%) were exported, often to China, requiring additional energy in transport.
E. Water Waste: Water resources are becoming even more precious due to increasing population and issues related to climate change. Ironically, it takes substantially more than one gallon of water to produce and distribute one gallon of bottled water. Millions of gallons of water are used in plastic making process, and for each gallon that goes into the bottles, two (2) gallons of water are used in the purification process.
F. Water Quality Issues:
1. Bottled water is often marketed to suggest it is purer than other choices. Often, that is not the case. According to government and industry estimates, about one-fourth (1/4) of bottled water is actually bottled tap water (and by some accounts, as much as 40 percent is derived from tap water) sometimes with additional treatment, sometimes not.
2. In the U.S., tap water is closely regulated. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the EPA is responsible for tap water standards. Bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, which bases its standards on the EPA's tap water standards, but requires testing less often and for fewer contaminants.
G. Cost: In Salt Lake City, seven hundred fifty (750) gallons of clean, fresh water is supplied to a home for eighty eight cents ($0.88). That is less than the cost of one average pint of bottled water, making bottled water approximately six thousand (6,000) times more expensive than tap water. (2019 Compilation)