To ensure our tap water is safe for everyone to drink, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires water utilities to routinely test the drinking water for certain contaminants like bacteria, pesticides and heavy metals. Our water is continuously tested and monitored to ensure EPA standards are met. At UMBC our tap water comes from Baltimore City’s Department of Public Works (DPW) where the water undergoes 150,000 water quality tests per year and consistently exceeds the EPA’s minimum standards for drinking water. Whereas, purchased bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rather than the EPA.
Tap water plays an important role in our everyday lives. Clean tap water promotes public health, supports a growing economy, and improves the overall quality of life. A 20 oz. bottle of water costs, on average, $1.45, and generates plastic waste. But, when you use a 20 oz. reusable bottle and fill up at the tap (or a water fountain) that same $1.45 equates to over 1,000 refills!
The Container Recycling Institute estimates that 22 billion disposable water bottles end up in landfills each year. Since plastics aren’t biodegradable, the bottles stick around for hundreds of years. Not only that, but only about 1/4 of the plastic bottles used by Americans are recycled. Many of these bottles that are not recycled end up polluting the environment and posing a risk to wildlife.