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Is Bottled Water Better Than Tap Water?

What do you drink from? If you’re in a restaurant, it’s likely that you’re drinking tap water – although some upscale places may filter their water or give it to you in a bottle for the table, it all comes from the tap. At home there are a lot more options. If you’re on the go, bottled water is a convenient choice, but has some other issues that come with it. If you’re in an office or you want controlled water in your home, large reusable bottles are another alternative. But which water source is better for you?

A Guide to Choosing Your Drinking Water Source

At Culligan of Orange County, we understand the importance of making informed decisions about your water source. Whether you’re considering tap water or bottled water, each option has its pros and cons, and the best choice depends on various factors and personal preferences. Here’s what you need to consider:


-Tap Water: In developed countries like the United States, tap water is generally safe to drink. It undergoes regulation and treatment processes to remove harmful contaminants. However, local variations may exist, and some areas may have concerns about pollutants or bacteria.

-Bottled Water: Marketed as a safer alternative, bottled water isn’t always tightly regulated. Reports have shown that contaminants can be present in bottled water, highlighting the importance of careful consideration.


– Tap Water: Cost-effective and almost free, tap water provides an economical choice for hydration. If you prefer additional filtration, affordable solutions are available.

– Bottled Water: Typically, more expensive, especially in single-use plastic bottles, the cost of bottled water can add up. It’s essential to weigh the convenience against the budget.


– Tap Water: Always accessible at home or work, tap water offers convenience without generating excessive waste. Refill a reusable water bottle easily.

– Bottled Water: Portable and convenient for on-the-go hydration but contributes to environmental waste. Plastic bottles can take hundreds of years to decompose.


– Tap Water: Some people enjoy the taste of tap water, appreciating the natural minerals that can influence flavor.

– Bottled Water: Filtered and often with fewer minerals, bottled water may appeal to those who prefer a cleaner taste.

At Culligan of Orange County, we offer water treatment solutions tailored to your preferences. Our systems can enhance the taste and quality of tap water, providing a reliable and cost-effective alternative to bottled water. Whether you prioritize safety, cost, convenience, or taste, Culligan is here to help you make the best choice for your water needs.

Where Does Orange County’s Tap Water Come From?

About 70% of the tap water Orange County uses comes from groundwater sources. The other 30% is imported from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, which provides water from the Colorado River via a system of aqueducts.

Groundwater systems, like the ones underneath the area around Santa Ana, tend to be harder than surface water sources as a result of naturally-occurring mineral accumulation.  For Santa Ana and Orange County drinking water, this means water may be prone to leaving buildup on sinks and faucets, as well as water spots, and sometimes staining around fixtures and sinks. Hard water can come with a discernible taste that impacts the taste of beverages made with water, as well as cooking. It can also shorten the lifespan of major appliances, as hard water is less efficient for everything from your washing machine to your coffee pot.

For those Santa Ana residents serviced with water from the Colorado River, water quality may be quite different from groundwater-served neighbors. Since surface water doesn’t filter through many layers of earth and sediment the way groundwater does, it often faces different water filtration challenges than hard water. Some of these include increased sensitivity to environmental changes, like increased microbial and algal activity, which can mean the city of Santa Ana municipalities need to add additional chemical treatments to ensure water is safe to drink. These can leave behind a slightly chlorine-like or chemical-based smell and taste to Santa Ana drinking water. 

What Is The Environmental Impact of Plastic Water Bottles?

According to Forge Recycling, traditional plastic bottles are made out of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). A plastic bottle made from PET takes around 450 years to decompose. Meanwhile, CNN reports more than 1 million bottles of water are sold every minute around the world and this number is expected to nearly double by 2030.

How Do Plastic Water Bottle’s Effect Human Health?

According to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, throughout every phase of its existence, plastic presents unique health risks for individuals, and these risks manifest through exposure to both plastic particles and the associated chemicals. Customers of Culligan should be mindful of these potential health impacts, as plastic is encountered at various stages.

  1. Extraction and Transportation of Fossil Feedstocks:
    • The process of obtaining and transporting fossil feedstocks for plastic involves releasing toxic substances into the air and water. These substances, including those known to cause cancer, neurotoxicity, reproductive and developmental issues, and immune system impairment, can pose health risks to individuals.
  2. Refining and Production of Plastic Resins and Additives:
    • The refining and production of plastic resins and additives release carcinogenic and highly toxic substances into the air. These pollutants can lead to nervous system impairment, reproductive and developmental problems, cancer, leukemia, and genetic impacts, such as low birth weight.
  3. Consumer Products and Packaging:
    • The use of plastic in consumer products and packaging introduces the risk of ingesting and/or inhaling microplastic particles and numerous toxic substances. Culligan customers should be aware of the potential health impacts associated with such exposures.
  4. Plastic Waste Management:
    • Methods of plastic waste management, including “waste-to-energy” and incineration, release toxic substances such as heavy metals (e.g., lead and mercury), acid gases, and particulate matter. These pollutants can enter the air, water, and soil, posing direct and indirect health risks for both workers and nearby communities.
  5. Fragmenting and Microplastics:
    • As plastic fragments and forms microplastics, individuals can directly ingest them, leading to various health impacts such as inflammation, genotoxicity, oxidative stress, apoptosis, and necrosis. These impacts are associated with negative health outcomes, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune conditions.
  6. Cascading Exposure during Plastic Degradation:
    • The degradation of plastic further releases concentrated toxic chemicals into the environment and human bodies. Culligan customers should consider the potential health risks associated with the leaching of these chemicals during the degradation process.
  7. Ongoing Environmental Exposures:
    • As plastic contaminates and accumulates in food chains through agricultural soils, terrestrial and aquatic food chains, and the water supply, new opportunities for human exposure arise. Understanding these ongoing environmental exposures is crucial for informed decision-making regarding water and beverage choices.

Overall, whether bottled water is better than tap water depends on your priorities. If safety is your primary concern, tap water is generally safe to drink in developed countries. If you prioritize cost and sustainability, tap water is the better option. Regardless, Culligan is your solution for clean and delicious water in your home, from your tap or from bottles.