DISTILLED. SPARKLING. SPRING. WHAT’'S THE DIFFERENCE?

Guest Blogger: Talya Tate Boerner

Distilled. Sparkling. Mineral. Spring. Seltzer. Tap. Artesian. Yikes! What’s the difference? Water is not created equally, yet with so many varieties on the shelves of your local market, how’s a regular person to wade through the options? Worry no more. I’ve done the legwork for you.

Tap. Turn on your faucet, and there it is. Simply stated, tap water is provided by a government municipality and is generally considered healthy for human consumption in the United States. Tap water has been treated, processed and disinfected. The EPA sets legal limits on contaminants and provides water-testing schedules and methods.

Bottled. Think of bottled water as merely an adjective because that’s what it is—a description of the way it’s delivered to you. Bottled water is water sealed in a sanitary container fit for human consumption. It may be spring, artesian, mineral, or regular tap filtered to remove fluoride and other minerals. The FDA regulates bottled water as a food, which means there are controls in place governing contaminant levels, the bottling process and labeling requirements, but the FDA does no mandatory testing like that performed by the EPA over our public water supply.

Distilled. A process of boiling, evaporating and collecting the condensed vapor creates distilled water. This is considered a pure variety of water as it has been stripped of everything—contaminants and natural minerals. Distilled water is typically used in appliances like your iron or steam mop because you’ll be left with no residue.

Sparkling. Carbon dioxide is responsible for the bubbly effervescence in sparkling water. Sparkling waters can be tricky to distinguish. Seltzer Water is plain water charged with carbon dioxide. It has a clean taste, which makes it a favorite cocktail mixer. Club soda is plain water plus certain mineral-like ingredients (i.e., sodium citrate, potassium sulfate, etc.). Read the labels.

Spring. Collected directly from an underground source, spring water is bottled where it rises to the ground. Spring water is only as pure as its source.

Mineral. Like spring water, mineral water is found in nature from an underground source. Mineral water is collected and bottled after flowing

over and through rocks. Unlike spring water, it contains a certain level of trace minerals. Hence the name.

Artesian. Artesian water is confined under pressure between impermeable layers such as clay and stone. Pressure forces the water to the earth’s surface.

I’m sure we can all agree it’s important to understand what we’re drinking. The next time you purchase water, consider these facts about Mountain Valley Spring Water.

1. For over 140 years, Mountain Valley Spring Water has been collected at the source in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

2. Geologists estimate it takes 3,500 years for rainfall to reach the deep aquifer from which Mountain Valley is collected. This natural filtering process results in pristine water.

3. Mountain Valley Water fiercely protects the spring and surrounding 2,000-acre forested watershed.

4. Preservation, recycling and renewable energy is used in the company’s packaging and bottling process.

5.Mountain Valley Spring Water undergoes extensive testing and analysis including daily testing by on-site quality control staff, monthly testing by the Arkansas Department of Health, annual testing by the National Sanitation Foundation, and period testing by the U.S. and international governmental and private companies.

I love knowing that when I drink Mountain Valley Spring Water, I’m getting water made the natural way.

–Talya Tate Boerner is a delta girl who grew up making mudpies on her family’s cotton farm in Northeast Arkansas. After thirty years in Texas, she has returned to the state she loves, settling in Northwest Arkansas. Talya draws inspiration from nature and appreciates the history behind food, family, places and objects. She blogs at Grace, Grits and Gardening and has been published in Arkansas Review, Front Porch and several on-line publications. Talya believes most any dish can be improved with a side of collard greens.

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