When you head over to the sink to pour yourself a tall glass of water, do you ever wonder where it really comes from, or what it contains? Although we can find water all over our planet, only 1% is suitable for human consumption.

According to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), "roughly 40 percent of our water comes from aquifers and 60 percent comes from surface waters." Aquifers are deep underground rock formations where water is accessed by drilling a well, then transported above ground. Surface waters are found in rivers, lakes, streams, and reservoirs. So how does this water make it into your home?

There are two ways water comes to your home: through public sources and private sources. If your tap water comes from a public source such as a water treatment facility, you probably pay a fee based on water consumption. Public water sources are usually responsible for the water in a town or a city. The water treatment facility pumps the water from the source (underground or surface) to the water treatment plant, where the water is chemically treated and sent through several pipes, then to an underground water main pipe near your home. Finally, the water ends up in your faucet.

Tap water can also originate from a private source such as a well. In this case, individuals are responsible for their own water treatment systems. According to Jersey Water Works, about one out of seven residents in the state get their water from a private well. But regardless from which source the tap water originates, the water quality must meet the standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

So now that we know where the water is sourced and how it gets to your faucet, what exactly is in tap water? In some locations, to make the water safe, certain chemicals may be added to your tap water such as:
  • Chlorine
  • Fluorine compounds
  • Trihalomethanes (THMs)
  • Salts of: arsenic, radium, aluminum, copper, lead, mercury, cadmium, and barium
  • Hormones
  • Nitrates
  • Pesticides
Scientists are now concerned about some of the long-term health impacts of these chemicals, as they may be carcinogenic, create thyroid problems, or harm fetal growth when consumed in large doses. According to recent research, fluoride is one of these specific chemicals. Originally, fluoride was added to tap water in the 1940s to reduce tooth decay. However, with the advances in toothpaste and other products, the risks may now outweigh the benefits. Excessive amounts of fluoride can lead to fluorosis, which causes changes to the tooth enamel and can lead to staining. Additionally, fluoride can lead to weakening bones. Some studies have even shown damage to brain and nerve cells.

Despite this cause for concern, the EPA notes that, "more than 90% of the country's drinking water systems meet all of EPA's health-based drinking water standards." However, if you are fortunate enough to live in Monmouth County, Ocean County, Mercer County, Atlantic Cape May County, or Cumberland County, Watchung Beverage Delivery services can deliver fresh bottled spring water right to your home or office!