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beaker

"In wine there is wisdom. In beer is strength. In water is bacteria."

Bad to the Last Drop

Funny, years ago ABC's 20/20 and more recently P&Ts Bullshit both covered the same topic and they came up with the same results (people can't tell the difference, bottled water can have much more bacteria) and yet no one ever believes me about it. After getting sick (from unrelated causes) last year I decided to start drinking more water and I briefly experimented with a Brita pitcher before realizing that I just needed to get used to drinking non-sickeningly sweet liquids (compared to Mt Dew, or Gatorade, or iced tea, plain old water tastes horribly bland). Now I can easily go through a gallon or more of water in a day (keep in mind I live in the dessert and I work outside a lot and people do actually die from dehydration here so you learn to hydrate) and I never can tell the difference between bottled and tap water (with the exception of a few random places with nasty/old/damaged pipes... like my old high school).
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I actively prefer tap water. I'm fairly certain this is because I would on occation wake up in the middle of the night because I was so thirsy, go to the bathroom and drink right from the faucet and it tasted *so* good. Most filtered or cooler water tastes like ick to me.

Then again, I didn't grow up in a place like Worcester - it's no wonder a friend of mine from there lives on soda, compared to the water it was good for you. . .
Same here, my dad (a plumber by trade) was always astonished that people would actually buy water. Despite what you might expect from a relatively poor community like El Paso, the water treatment is some of the best in the country (one of those quirky things that results from having so little water is that the powers that be make damn sure they take care of it).

I don't really know how Worcester's water is. I know I got to go to one of the local water treatment plants when I was in college and I was suitably impressed at how advanced and efficient it was so, perhaps some of the water problems people run across are a result of bad pipes in the system (I would imagine that's especially true of places like Boston and surrounding communities since there are so many different towns/cities trying to work off of the same water system (EP is fortunate in that there is basically one water company that manages almost all the water for the entire region).
Let me put it this way: a friend of mine saw them doing some "let's fix these pipes as long as we've torn up the road anyway" stuff. They took a wooden pipe out of the ground, cleared out sludge coating it in such a fashion that would put a pre-heart-attack artery to shame, then put it back in the ground (couldn't afford to replace it, I think). This was a fresh water pipe, not a sewer pipe.

So yea, I wouldn't drink the Worcester water. I'll drink Cambridge or Sommerville or Waltham water, though.
Remember when people at MIT put up ratings sheets next to a bunch of the drinking fountains around the various corridors? There was definitely a distinct difference in quality from building to building... though a lot of that was due to chillers in some of the fountains being inadequate or broken. I'm sure that local piping has a much greater effect on water taste than treatment at the plant does.

Me, I'm an iced tea addict, which puts just as many bottles needlessly into landfills. They should run that through my faucet! ;) (or, really, I should get in the habit of just making some tea in the morning and tossing it in my Nalgene along with some ice and a little sugar).
I have to disagree on this issue... I can tell the difference immediately. Except Aquafina--it tastes like shitty tap water to me too. However, I must admit that I have unusual circumstances. First of all, I have usually lived in the country where I had well water, which tastes VERY different than in-town water. Second, the town I grew up in had natural springs running underneath it (hence the name Rush Springs), so I don't think the water there was treated as much as the water in other places. To me, tap water has a bitter chlorine-y taste. It also sometimes tastes almost stale to me. Since moving into town, I've moved to a Brita pitcher, and although it's not as good as my water at home (there I have a reverse osmosis system in my house due to the large amount of gypsum in the water), it's better than the water out of the tap. Aquafina and Dasani are definitely the worst bottled waters out there--I think they are just bottled tapwater. However, I really like Ozarka if I buy bottles. Besides, bottled water comes in handy after a marathon Wal-Mart trip!
Yep. It's the same over here. Plus all those bloody plastic bottles add to landfill like WOAH.



p.s. You live in the dessert, eh? ;-p Wish I lived there, sounds tasty.