Water Industry Expert Katie White Compares Tap Water Quality and Regulations To Bottled Water

In the quest for safe and clean drinking water, consumers often find themselves debating between tap water and bottled water. While tap water is supplied by municipal utilities, bottled water comes from various sources, undergoes a different set of regulations, and is subject to additional scrutiny.

Tap Water Regulations in Arizona:

Tap water in Arizona is primarily regulated by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) passed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The ADEQ sets stringent standards for water quality, testing, and treatment processes to ensure that tap water meets or exceeds federal standards. The regulations cover a wide range of contaminants, such as bacteria, lead, nitrates, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), among others.

Under the SDWA, the ADEQ requires regular monitoring and testing of public water supplies, including groundwater sources, surface water systems, and community water systems. The results of these tests are made available to the public through Consumer Confidence Reports (CCRs), which provide detailed information about the quality and safety of tap water.

Bottled Water Regulations in Arizona:

Bottled water in Arizona falls under the purview of the Arizona Department of Agriculture (AZDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, ensuring its safety, labeling, and manufacturing practices. However, it’s important to note that the FDA’s regulations for bottled water differ from the EPA’s regulations for tap water.

At White Water Bottling, as a bottled water manufacturer, we are required to comply with the FDA’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs), which outline quality control measures, sanitation requirements, and record-keeping procedures. The CGMPs also require routine testing for contaminants, including bacteria, chemicals, and radiological substances, to ensure that the bottled water is safe for consumption.

Key Differences between Tap Water and Bottled Water Regulations:

a. Testing Frequency: Because tap water systems are so generally full of contamination in Arizona, municipalities are required to conduct frequent testing and monitoring as per the ADEQ regulations. In contrast, bottled water manufacturers must adhere to the FDA’s testing requirements but are not obligated to test as frequently as tap water systems because bottled water starts out so much cleaner than tap water.

b. Reporting Requirements: Public water systems are mandated to provide annual CCRs to consumers, offering transparency about water quality and potential contaminants. On the other hand, while bottled water companies like White Water must meet labeling requirements defined by the FDA, we are not obligated to provide detailed reports on water quality to consumers. This all being said we do test all our water (stored and products) daily as regards to TDS, pH and chlorine. And preform weekly microbial testing to assure no contamination.

c. Source of Water: Tap water in Arizona primarily comes from treated surface water or groundwater sources, subject to strict regulations for water treatment and disinfection. Bottled water sources, on the other hand, can vary. While some bottled water comes from regulated municipal sources, others may originate from springs, wells, or other non-regulated sources. Consumers should carefully review the labeling on bottled water to understand its source. At White Water, we offer different types of water that are sourced from different areas. Our Purified Drinking Water from the City of Phoenix’s Public Water system which then goes through a series of Reverse Osmosis Filters and Ozonation treatment to purify it.  Our spring water comes from a natural spring located north of Cave Creek, Arizona.

Ensuring Water Quality and Safety:

a. Tap Water: To ensure the safety of tap water in Arizona, consumers can refer to the CCRs provided by their local water utilities. It is crucial to stay informed about any potential issues and take necessary precautions, such as using home filtration systems, if desired.

b. Bottled Water: When choosing bottled water, consumers should look for products that state the water source and any additional treatment processes undergone. White Water Bottling voluntarily adheres to higher standards and participates in third-party certification programs, providing added assurance of quality. 


In Arizona, tap water and bottled water are subject to different regulatory frameworks, each with its own set of requirements and monitoring practices. While tap water is closely regulated by the ADEQ under the SDWA, bottled water falls under the FDA’s jurisdiction as a packaged food product. Understanding these regulations empowers consumers to make informed decisions about their drinking water sources.

Regardless of the chosen water source, ensuring water quality and safety remains paramount. Regularly reviewing CCRs for tap water and selecting reputable bottled water brands can help consumers confidently make the right choices for their hydration needs. Remember, both tap water and bottled water can play a role in meeting your daily hydration requirements, and it ultimately boils down to personal preference, accessibility, and convenience.

At White Water Bottling, we prioritize consumer safety and transparency. Our bottled water products undergo rigorous testing and adhere to the highest industry standards, ensuring that every sip is refreshing, pure, and of the utmost quality.

Location Info:
White Water
301 S 29th St., Phoenix, Arizona 85034

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