Spring water vs. purified water: Which one is better?

A simple way to live a healthier lifestyle is to drink more water. In fact, Americans are drinking more than 2 billion gallons each year.

WSB-TV consumer expert Clark Howard has said for years that tap water is preferable to bottled water, which he claims is "purified tap water." For those who must have filtered water, he advises filtering your water at home or buying bottled water from Costco or Aldi to save money.

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However, if you still want to buy bottled water, the No. 1 beverage in the U.S., according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, you have to ask: What do all those labels mean?

Two common labels are for spring water and purified water.

The difference.

Purified water is highly-treated drinking water that does not contain the chemical compounds found in the public water supply.

Purified water, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is "produced by distillation, deionization, reverse osmosis or other suitable processes" and also may be called "demineralized water, deionized water, distilled water or reverse osmosis water."

Spring water, "derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth at an identified location, may be collected at the spring or through a bore hole, tapping the underground formation that feeds the spring," according to FDA guidelines.

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Both are FDA and EPA regulated.

Like all bottled water, spring water has to meet FDA guidelines.

Both the FDA and the Environmental Protection Agency are responsible for the safety of drinking water. The EPA regulates public drinking water (tap water), while the FDA regulates bottled drinking water.

Compared to purified water, spring water goes through very little distillation since the goal is to keep the minerals that naturally occur.

To meet FDA standards, bottled spring water is required to be tested and filtered for any sediment.

Purified water can come from any source since it is the process of removing the impurities that makes it purified water, according to LiveStrong.com.

Purified water is of significantly higher purity than spring water, tap water or ground water.

There’s no right answer.

Still, to put it simply, spring water and purified water can come from the same source, but purified water undergoes a more rigorous purification process.

The choice between the two depends on access and personal preference. People who like spring water like the taste of its natural minerals. Others prefer purified water that has been clarified through high-grade water purification systems installed in homes or businesses.