People love to make up nonsense about water. There are still people who believe that the babbling ice cold brooks in Colorado provide water that is so special it makes Coors Beer better than other beers. The truth? That ice cold water is filled with algae, fungi, bacteria, fish poop, bear poop, camper pee, and every other contaminant found in our ground and air. If Coors took that water without treating it, they would in all likelihood produce health risks for its customers.
While there are natural waters across the world that are safe to drink from their natural source, all water that is used for human consumption must be purified and sanitized before bottling it and selling it to consumers. Beer included.
This brings me to a widely held untruth here in Memphis. Many people, including the author of the linked article believe that the reason Memphis Water is so desirable is because the sand of the Memphis Sand Aquifer slowly removes impurities.
News Flash – Sand, even the precious Memphis Sand has absolutely no ability to remove chemical impurities from water. It can filter dirt and silt, and some bacteria, but it will not remove toxic metals, algae, fungi, mold, spores, or carcinogenic/toxic organic chemicals.
The reason Memphis water is desirable is because hundreds of years ago when the aquifer was filled with rain water, the earth was not yet polluted by the industrial development of civilization. Ever since that time, each day, more and more contaminants slough off in our storm water and gradually degrade the water quality of the aquifer. Sand, no matter how fine will not maintain the quality of the aquifer.
Furthermore, because sand in an aquifer never gets back-washed, the debris it collects over time will eventually provide food for bacteria to proliferate, thereby actually decreasing water quality. This is simply another example of where folklore about water often sweeps the science of water under the carpet.