In the modern age of fluoride deniers, pollution concerns and scares like Flint, Michigan, some companies are now promoting the benefits of drinking untreated or “raw” spring water. There are claims that this type of water keeps gut bacteria balanced, heals maladies and rejuvenates the skin, but before you buy into this latest health craze, you need to know that drinking raw water could present a serious health risk. 

The Costs 

Although you may have an idea that raw water would be more economical, municipal water is actually far cheaper. Live Water, a company, marketing raw water from “an ancient aquifer” in clear glass jugs for delivery in the Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco area is offering a 2.5 gallon jug for $16, and you need to pay a $22 deposit. The Live Water promise is water containing no harmful contaminants and healthy probiotics. 

In Harrison, Maine, Tourmaline Spring will ship a dozen one liter bottles of water “exempt” from processing requirements due to “natural purity” for $35.95 with a $23.75 shipping charge.  

The Risks 

According to professor of environmental engineering from Drexel University, Charles Haas, there are some serious concerns about drinking water. He argues that consumers have no idea what’s fed into streams and rivers, so there could be potential for drinking polluted water. Charles Haas likens drinking raw water to drinking raw milk and says it should be avoided. A municipal water supply in the U.S is considered high quality and does not pose these risks to human health. 

Unfortunately, even a delightful stream can be disguising animal and agricultural pollution. Water can appear clean, but contain unpleasant contaminants like “beaver fever.” This is a nickname for Giardia intestinalis that causes sickness after drinking unfiltered stream water. This intestinal infection is caused by microscopic parasites found in fecal matter of infected animals and results in diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

Even rainwater shouldn’t be drunk before cleaning. While it may be relatively clean when falling, when it hits a surface it will be mixed with anything on contact including animal debris or dust.  

Although raw water may be the latest craze, there is a reason why water disinfection and chlorination are considered one of the greatest 20th century public health achievements. Clean water has made a massive difference in life expectancies in industrialized countries including the United States. Diseases such as typhoid and cholera were virtually eliminated when cities began to clean and treat drinking water. By rejecting the recommended safety practices, raw water sellers could be providing you with things you won’t want to drink including viruses, parasites, and bacteria.  

If you have concerns about the quality of your drinking water, you don’t need to resort to drinking potentially dangerous raw water. An experienced water treatment professional can assist you to find a domestic water treatment system that can improve the quality of your drinking water. Additionally, by choosing a fully WQA certified technician, you can be assured that any treatment devices will meet the current industry standards and provide you with the best tasting drinking water.

With more than 25 years experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Terry is a WQA (Water Quality Association) certified water specialist, LEVEL 3, as well as a WQA certified sales representative.  Terry currently sits on EcoWater Systems (a Berkshire Hathaway Company) national Peers committee, as a water treatment expert advising other water professionals with less experience on best trade and technology practices. EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is one of the biggest water treatment and water delivery businesses in the state.