There are some bottled waters that come right out of natural springs such as Starkey brand (very delicious), In these cases, the water is indeed as close to being non-processed as one can get while still being a commercial product. But that doesn’t exactly classify it as tap water because the FDA requires all bottled water to meet certain sanitary requirements, so even though these type of waters may be safe to drink with out of the ground, bottling them will require sanitization with ozone, ultraviolet light, and other filtration methods.
However, the biggest selling brands, Aquafina, Dasani, and others are indeed processed tap water. The key word here is “processed” tap water. Since tap water has chlorine in it, and because many people can detect chlorine in taste and smell, no bottled water that I know of is placed on shelves with chlorine in it. Perhaps there is a military spec for survival/longevity that calls for chlorine to be put in the water, but for the most part, nobody bottles plain untreated tap water.
- Screen/media filtration is employed to remove silt and debris
- Carbon filtration next removes chlorine
- Softening is next employed to remove calcium and magnesium hardness. This is to protect the main purifier, Reverse Osmosis from scale build up.
- Reverse Osmosis (RO) is then engaged to remove 99.9% of bacteria, 98% + metals, also called inorganics (lead, copper, etc.)
- This step is the one people often cannot understand. RO water, while purer than anything America drinks is not a good tasting product. As a result, the company then puts in about 60 mg/l of minerals/metals to achieve taste. (controlled amounts of calcium, magnesium etc.)
- Finally, at some point, before bottling, the water is sanitized with some combination of ultraviolet light, ozonation, and sub-micron filtration.
People are always striving to drink what they define as ” Pure Water”, but most don’t really understand what they are talking about. In the aforementioned step 4 of the bottling process, Reverse Osmosis is used to purify the water. RO water is purer than any tap or common bottled water that we drink. In fact, other than distilled water, which is still a far cry from being totally pure, there is no widely available bottled, pure drinking water.