Water you Drinking?

By Jaclyn Flandermeyer

Water- vital to life, yet flavorless and sometimes agonizing to drink enough of. It makes up about 71% of the Earth’s surface and about 60% of you. In the past, doctors and health care professionals have recommended you drink 8 glasses of water a day. This amount is not true today. Now, it’s recommended that men drink 15.5 cups of water and women 11.5 cups of water daily. To quench your thirst, you may take a swig from a water bottle or fill up a glass from the tap. But why are there so many kinds of water? And is there really a difference between them? The answer may surprise you.

Tap water

Tap water is safe to drink in the United States and is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which sets standards public drinking water must meet. In Muncie, Indiana for example, the tap water is under supervision of Indiana American Water. It is sourced from the White River, Prairie Creek Reservoir, and four wells. One of the ways that drinking water is disinfected is by chlorination, where chlorine is added to the water to kill harmful pathogens.

Filtered water

If tap water is so regulated, why would you want to drink anything else? Just because there are regulations put in place, doesn’t mean they’re always followed, or that the water tastes good for that matter. When this happens, you may want to filter your water. A standard Brita filter, for example, will filter out microbes, Chlorine, Mercury, Cadmium, Copper, and Zinc. Using a water filter can also help your tap water taste better. Using a filter is more sustainable that buying bottled water, as it uses a lot less plastic- plastic that would probably have ended up in a landfill as only about 32% of the US population recycles.

Distilled water

The history of distilled water dates to 200 A.D., and is easier to make than you’d think. All you have to do is boil water, collect the steam, and let it condense. Boom- distilled water. A facet of distilled water is that it contains almost no minerals. Because of this, using distilled water in appliances should result in no mineral deposits. Distilled water is safe to drink, it just may not taste the best because there are no minerals in it.

Deionized water

Also coined “DI Water,” deionized water is water that has been “deionized” or “demineralized.” Ions like chlorine, sodium, etc. are removed from the water by going through a charged channel. In this channel, water passes by a negatively charged “cation” resin which attracts positively charged ions in the water, and a positively charged “anion” resin which attracts negatively charged ions in the water. The resins not only remove charged ions but also add hydrogens, H+, (coming from hydrochloric acid, a.k.a. HCl) and hydroxyl groups, OH, (from sodium hydroxide, a.k.a. NaOH) back as well, such that there are no charged species left and only water remains. DI Water is mostly used in laboratory and industrial settings, but can also have other uses when a buildup of minerals is not wanted. In a pinch, you could drink DI water, but it is not recommended that you do so all the time- DI water readily absorbs ions in your body, essentially stealing minerals from you.

Although there are all kinds of water available, not all of them are safe or even good to drink. Some water contains harmful pollutants or bacteria, others contain almost nothing at all. Before you fill up your next glass with H2O, ask yourself- do you know what’s in your cup?