Drinking Water

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Archived Q&A and Reviews

Safety of Tap Water

Bottled Water

Babies, Kids and Water


Berkeley Tap Water

Sept 2015

I am wondering what the condition is of our Berkeley tap water.

I recently prepared chicken noodle soup in a non-stick pan and it ended up tasting like soap. Is it the tap water? I read that it could be Flouride concentrated by the boiling water? I ruled out every other source (i.e. my soup ingredients, spoon, etc.) Could it be a reaction to the non-stick pan even though I have made soup before? We have been in the same house for almost twelve years and this is the first time this has happened.

Also, has anyone installed a filtration system under their sink for their tap/water supply? If so, why did you do it and are you happy with it? worried about our water

Yes, it sounds like it was the nonstick pan. You really should only use nonstick for cooking eggs, burgers, other things that cook in fat. Not for liquids. Get a stainless or glass pot for liquids like soup.

Berkeley water is really, really good. It's Sierra snow melt. It's the best.

I think it is a problem with your pan, or possibly with going overboard in saving water or not using hot enough water when washing dishes. That happens to us at times -- we don't rinse things off well enough and there's a bit of a soap residue. I've been in Berkeley (in an old house) for 20 years, and I think the water itself is fine. anon

We have had a Multipure whole-house filter on our incoming water line for many years and it works great. You can Google them. It means the water that goes in our vegetable garden and fishpond is also filtered and we have not noticed any degradation of water taste with the drought changes. Barbara S

For the past few months, EBMUD has been drawing water from closer to the surface of the Mokulmne River and associated dams. Due to the drought conditions, they say they can't draw the deeper, cooler, cleaner water that we are used to enjoying.

The results are yucky. While EBMUD warned customers that the taste would be off, we have noticed other issues as well. Our hot tub is growing green algae on the rim and sides - we need to scrape it off with a toothbrush, and my husband contracted a nasty skin infection. I spend less time in the tub and am OK.

For drinking water, we have always filtered the water, and now are very glad to have the filter system in place. Amelia Sue

Safety of Water in Oakland

Sept 2014

I am a mom of a toddler and hoping to have a second child. I was curious whether parents of young kids (or others) drink tap water or filtered water, and if so what filter they chose and why. I know our water is relatively safe, but I am troubled that it exceeds health guidelines in a few areas: http://www.ewg.org/tap-water/whatsinyourwater/CA/East-Bay-Municipal-Utility-District/0110005/. I've been thinking of buying a Berkey filter and I'd love feedback on those filters in particular or others that you have used. Rockridge mom

As EBMUD customers, we enjoy some of the cleanest drinking water in the state. Your tap water in Oakland is absolutely safe to drink, and you don't need a filter (unless you have a household issue with lead). While the EWG results allow for national cross-comparisons, they have been stripped of a lot of important footnotes, such as where sampling is conducted. Please refer to EBMUD's web site for their 2013 report. They have multiple treatment plants; you're served mostly by Orinda. https://www.ebmud.com/sites/default/files/pdfs/awqr-2013-web_0.pdf Drink up and enjoy! Mary

We've had the big berkey for about a year now and are very pleased. High up front cost but I believe it will be less than other filters in long run. Also portable and could still be used in a disaster which sink filter cannot. One issue is where will you keep it so the spout hangs off counter and is usable. You can also elevate it on a little stool on the counter beside the sink. We keep a 1/2 gallon mason jar next to ours for filling and a 1 gal glass ice tea pitcher with spout the we fill with filtered water as a backup (I can easily use the whole thing and need the backup on days I'm cooking or making stock). It's important to have a routine for filling to make sure there is always water, in the beginning we'd be out all the time and it was frustrating. My husband fills every night before bed and I make sure to fill once or twice during the day. We are only two and a baby on the way but I am always making stock, kombucha, soaking nuts or doing other things that use lots of water. I would buy the slightly bigger model if I'd realized there were other sizes but overall I'm happy to have it and would recommend it to others. Happy berkey user

A family member does water quality monitoring for EBMUD. He uses a Brita filter, so we do too. --Clear Water

This new filter looks promising: http://just.drinksoma.com/t2d12345/ However, you might want to consider a whole house filter because you absorb a lot more toxins through your lungs breathing the steam in the shower than you do by drinking the water. Anon

I have several friends who work at top-level in EBMUD and none uses a water filter. Take it from the pros. anon

We've been very happy with our MultiPure under-sink filter. RK

Oakland has some of the best water in the country. No need to buy a filter or bottled water, just drink the water right out of the tap. The filters don't remove all of the contaminants they are ''scaring'' you with. And this may sound a bit counter intuitive but filtered and bottled water can be worse than what comes out of the tap because bacteria can grow in filter systems and holding containers. Be thankful for the wonderful water we get right from the Sierra. ANON

Tap water in Berkeley: safe to drink?

April 2008

Do you think the tap water in Berkeley is safe to drink? I'm trying to stay away from plastic and am thinking of retiring my trusty Brita but I also am leery of drinking tap water, especially since I'm pregnant. Does anyone know which is the lesser of two evils?! Kellie

Well, Britta is still better than tap water in my opinion. Best is a reverse osmosis filter and then a solid carbon filter. Britta is better than nothing, just don't leave the pitcher sitting in the sun. I personally drank spring water during my pregnancy because I didn't want to drink chlorine and flouride along with all the water I was drinking. filters are best

Berkeley, like the rest of Alameda county, is served by EBMUD. EBMUD water is probably the best in the country, and among the best in the world. We are lucky to have such excellent water. You shouldn't need to filter it, unless you just don't like the taste. Love Our Local Tap Water!

I live in Berkeley and see tiny grey & black particles coming through the tap water frequently. I would not trust the tap water. We used to have the Brita pitcher, but recently switched to the Brita attached to your faucet. So much better! Always enough water to fill up a pot and always clean water to rinse organic fruit. Can't believe we didn't get it sooner! Bought it at Elephant Pharm. Heike Helmer

Yes, the water from the East Bay Municipal Utility District is the best I know of. Danny Wan, X Oakland city council member says that if you are buying bottled water you are throwing away your money 'cus EBMUD water is better. It is also tested so you can verify.

I drink it unfiltered without worries. Oh, yes it tastes great.

EBMUD will also give you rebates to buy high efficiency toilets and clothes washers. I know of no better water utility.

EBMUD water is one thing you can be happy about. George

Tap water in Berkeley is fine. The only I don't like is the added flouride so I bought a reverse osmosis water filter. It's a bit wasteful waterwise, but we only use it for drinking water and ice. I say drink the tap water or get a reverse osmosis filtering system if you are really worried. (I also stopped using Brita because of the plastic water containers.) Anon

Regarding Brita filters and pitchers: My husband inquired directly with the company, and here is the reply he received: ''The pitcher lids and filter housings are made of Polypropylene plastic. The reservoirs and pitchers are made either from NAS (a Styrene based plastic) or SAN (Styrene Acrylonitrile). The soft-touch handles are made from an elastomer called Santoprene (not to be confused with Latex or Neoprene). Our products do not contain any bisphenol A and are all tested by the NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) for safety and wetted contact. Unfortunately the pitcher materials are not recyclable, and therefore do not have a plastic number.'' I don't know if this information helps or hurts, but there it is. Katie

I was a water quality chemist for EBMUD for 4 years. The water is wonderful if you live in Berkeley or Oakland. People in Richmond get water from San Pablo Dam which isn't as good as the Sierra water. The people at EBMUD are very dedicated to doing a good job. Unfortunately I found the job boring. alita

How to have the water in my home tested?

May 2012

Dear BPN parents, Since our baby was born I started to worry about the drinking water quality in our home. Our house is pretty old (built in 1949), so I particularly worry about the lead level in the water. I know that there are lead test kits for sale in Home depot, but many people don't recommend them because they sometimes give false results. So I want to have some professional lab to test the water.

The problem is, how to do it? I am totally lost. I went to EBMUD website, it says they don't test household water, and they recommend to contact the State of California Department of Health Services (CDHS). I searched on CDHS website, finally found a phone number in their water district and called a few times, but nobody answered the phone.

Has anybody had their household water tested by a professional lab, or by a government agent? Or does anybody know how to do it? Thanks a lot for your help. Why doesn't EBMUD test our water?

Caltest Analytical Laboratory, located in Napa, is accredited by the state for drinking water analyses. Check out the website (www.caltestlabs.com), or call 707-258-4000 to talk to a Project Manager about your needs. EV, Quality Assurance Officer, Caltest Analytical Laboratory

Nervous about CA water quality

March 2011

The recent news about high levels of Chromium 6 in our groundwater makes me nervous. How can one filter this out of our water? A Brita? I am a recent breast cancer survivor with young kids, and I am uneasy about this topic. I don't like buying bottled water because of the waste and expense, but I'm not sure what is the best strategy for healthy drinking water! We're also currently renters, so installing anything in the house is not an option. water concerned

Each region in California gets its water from different places so there's no such thing as ''California water''. You can contact your local water utility to find out more. In the East Bay (EBMUD is the supplier) and SF and the Peninsula (supplied by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission -- not to be confused with the State's PUC) the source of the water is pure Sierra snow melt and we enjoy some of the best water quality in the nation. Water contaminates can enter the water from the pipes but this has always seemed to me a very minor problem. I've come to the conclusion that filtration is a waste of time and money. And avoid bottle water -- it generally has lower water quality than our great East Bay tap, not to mention is wasteful. Brenda

Hi - I totally understand the nervousness about water quality. However, if you live in the east bay it's highly unlikely you are being delivered groundwater. Same for San Francisco. Both of those two water systems, EBMUD and SFPUC get the vast majority of their water supplies from Sierra snowmelt. The Mokulmne river for EBMUD and the Tuolumne River for SFPUC. Both agencies publish their water quality data at least annually if not more frequently. Check out their websites. But generally, we are extremely fortunate to have such good surface water supplies here in the Bay Area. Laura

You're right to be concerned about CA water quality (although it is much better than in other parts of the country, almost anywhere now, unfortunately, there are chemicals that are bad for public health-- this is a consequence of our industrialized way of living, which now we're learning slowly how to clean up). I am a physician involved in environmental health issues. After multiple analyses, including cost-effectiveness, my recommendation for you would be an over-the-counter water filtration system. These are portable, so you could take it with you should you move, and they don't require a professional to install. They are much better than pitcher filtration systems, which also carry w/ them the issue of water standing in leaching plastic containers. ''Best Filters'' or another comparable site is a good place to start. You can click to see what sets of chemicals are removed from various levels of filters (which range from $45-300). http://www.bestfilters.com/countertop-water-filters.html. Reverse osmosis, although it can filter more than the usual filters, can also remove lots of important micronutrients and minerals. Here's to good health! DH

Bottled water is certifiably a rip-off as far as safety; it's less well regulated than tap water. My B-I-L works on water quality for PG he uses & recommends a Brita Filter. Be sure to follow the instructions and swap out filters periodically; lots of people use water filters and fail to change them, so mold starts growing. That's not good for you either! LK

Dear Nervous: There is no such thing as ''California'' water quality. Problems are unique to every water source, so your concerns should depend greatly on where you live. If you are served by EBMUD or San Francisco water systems, you're drinking some of the best water in the nation -- be grateful! A Brita can remove chlorine taste or some lead from household sources (not chrome-6), but otherwise isn't necessary. Find out who your water service provider is; every provider has to publish information about water quality on an annual basis, and this is almost always on their web site. Instead of being nervous, educate yourself. Tap Water Lover

Those of us who live in the East Bay have excellent water quality. EBMUD provides almost all our potable water from the Pardee reservior and Hetch Hetchy. The 2009 Water Quality Report is available on line or from EBMUD

California's proposed limit of .02 parts per billion of chromium-6 will be the lowest in the nation when enacted

The Central Valley is highly dependent on wells and has corresponding higher rates of chromium-6 and other contaminates in their water Bill, Tinkey Plumbing

I've been using the counter-top Multi-pure water filter (went to the Ecology Center in Berkeley) for the last 3 years and it's working great for us. You no longer taste the chlorine in the water, and it's got the solid carbon block filtration which is extremely effective in removing all sorts of contaminants. You have to buy a new filter 1x a year (costs about $50 to replace). But no plastic bottles, no guilt, and as much water as you want on-demand. Check it out: http://www.bestfilters.com/multi-pure/multi-pure-countertop-water-guardian-water-filter-mpadc/Page_1/mpadc.html - Drinking Filtered Tap Water

Berkeley tap water - Good, Bad, OK??

June 2007

Does anyone know if the Berkeley tap water is ok to drink, not filtered? Our pediatrician says it's ok to mix straight tap water to make our babys formula. The pipes in/around our house have been updated, but I don't know about the city's water pipe system. Anyhow, has anyone done mixed formula with tap water? Thanks!! kate

Yes, Berkeley tap water is good. I am using it to make formula for my baby for three months now after our pediatrician said berkeley tap water is good. My baby didn't show any stomach upsets or anything like that. ad

Our water has chloromine in it, which is a mixture of chlorine and ammonia. It kills fish, you have to treat it before replacing aquarium water. I think EBMUD says it's fine to drink, but I have a filter on my tap at home which filters this out (among other things). I wouldn't give it to my baby, child, teenager or friends. I hope that helps. anon

Please tell me that you are joking!

Berkeley tap water is fantastic water! It is great for adults, kids, pets, plants and babies. We have been making formula for our kid with tap water-- unboiled, unfiltered, without first subjecting it to gamma radiation since she was born. It is DRINKING water, in which we are lucky enough to also be able to shower and bathe. It comes from the Sierra Nevada, from one of the finest sources for a metropolitan area-the Mokelumne River. You want mountain water? That's what we have, and the good news is that you are already paying for it. Furthermore, by drinking tap water you will not need to contribute to the massive waste problem that bottled water is creating, both in all the bottles that need to be disposed of and the energy used to truck that stuff across the country.

If you lived in India, Africa, or even Mexico, this would be a valid issue, but you live in Berkeley!

Enjoy the water, and teach your children to drink from the tap, not the bottle. its fine

The water provided to Berkeley via EBMUD is from the Pardee Reservoir, and is excellent in quality. There is no need to filter it, unless you are not confient of the pipes in your house. If you have had new, copper water pipes installed (these are the best) then your water should be fine.

Installing a water filter for your drinking water can actually increase tooth decay in your family, if they do not receive fluoride through other sources (fluoride rinses, school drinking water, fluoride toothpaste, etc.)

Once we changed out the old steel pipes in our Craftsman house, our drinking water issues were resolved, and we have no more problems. If your pipes were recently replaced, be sure to clean out the aerators at the taps in the kitchen and baths, since sometimes the debris from the old steel pipes may still be in there.

Also, your water heater may have substantial debris in it from the old pipes; flushing it out with a garden hose attached to the spigot at the bottom will remove this (you should do this annually anyway, to lengthen the life of your water heater.) Making sure your water heater isn't any higher than 120 F. will eliminate the chance of scalding as well.

Good luck! Clean Water in Berkeley

The water we get in the Bay Area is superb. Some of the best anywhere in the world. I have used it extensively to fill up formula bottles with good results. We use a Brita filter to remove some of the chlorine smell and taste, though. But that's just a preference and it's not strictly necessary. I researched this extensively with EBMUD some time back.

I found peace of mind after purchasing a water test kit, which can be found on a website such as www.watersafetestkits.com I think I paid around $20 to test for e.coli, lead, pesticides, nitrates, chlorine, hardness and ph. All turned out fine. After reading recent reviews of bottled water, I would much prefer to drink from my home tap, where I at least know the source of the water (check out EBMUD's annual reviews). Stacey

When does baby start drinking water?

May 2007

Hi. I wanted to know when our baby should start drinking water. She is 8 1/2 months old and she eats 85% breastmilk and 15% oatmeal/babyfood fruit. Does she not drink water until the breastfeeding stops? Thank you so much. ET

Just be sure you give water whenever she's sweating or eating dry foods. More often won't hurt, but at least do it then so she's not thirsty. 3 under 4

I read to start giving a little water when solid foods are first introduced. I did, but didn't push it very strongly (I don't think our daughter understood how the sippy cup worked at first). She got very constipated, until she started drinking some water with her solid food meals. So, yes, start giving some water now. Especially during this hot weather! Sarah

The American Academy of Pediatrics actually states that ''until your baby starts eating solid foods, he'll get all the water he needs from breastmilk or formula.'' anon

All of my kids drank water from a bottle right out of the hospital. I'm not sure why your child is the age it is & hasn't. Were you advised against it? I've never heard of such advice. I have three children, the eldest almost 16 & they all started drinking water from a bottle after being born then graduated to sippy cups. Michelle

Now. Mommy of 3

Kelly Mom has good advice about this: http://www.kellymom.com/nutrition/solids/baby-water.html Andi

Water doesn't replace breastmilk, of course. It's just a normal part of the human diet which can and should be introduced at about the same time solid foods are introduced. Offer your baby a sippy cup or trainer cup of water with her solid meals and let her experiment with it. Of course, while she's still nursing a lot and her ''solid'' foods are still pretty wet, she doesn't need a lot of extra fluids, so don't push it if she doesn't seem to actually swallow much of it -- but this is a good time for her to begin learning to use a cup and to get used to drinking water. She should probably drink more by the time she's eating table foods as a more significant part of her diet, typically between 9 and 18 months. (Incidentally, it's a good idea to start offering her finger/table foods. If she likes eating and is good at swallowing the oatmeal and pureed fruit, it's time to move on to cereal bits, larger chunks of soft fruit/veg, ground meats.) Holly

Safe and environmentally friendly water bottle

April 2007

Looking for a safe bottle for using to drink tap water, day-to-day. For environmental and possible health reasons, we don't like using bottled water bottles. But, there is some concern re: re-using bottles w/ water in case of bacteria contamination. Any recommendations on a bottle that is good for this purpose - using day-to-day for carrying around tap water to drink? Any recommendations for ensuring their cleanliness too, i.e. bacteria free. Thank you. Michele

Sigg stainless steel bottles--sold at Whole Foods, Elephant Pharmacy, etc. Lightweight, very clean, highly reusable. Just be careful about dropping and denting them! CC

Klean Kanteen makes stainless steel bottles that are great. There's no lining (which Sigg bottles have -- they tend to get unsettling deposits in them). If you're just using water in them you can simply clean them with a vinegar/water mixture, or you can put them in the dishwasher. They are excellent, and come in lots of sizes including a ''sippy cup'' size, which you can use with an Advent sippy adapter. You can get sport top or screw top caps. The Ecology Center sells them at their store and at the Berkeley farmers markets. The website is www.kleankanteen.com. Annie

Any of the polypropylene (#5) bottles are fine. I got one at the big longs on 51st. Actually I bought several. THey work great, they have a lid that stays closed and doesn't leak, and you really don't have to worry about bacteria if you clean it just like you'd clean anything else. I did buy a nice avent bottle scrubber (the standard ones are too flimsy), and I clean it w/ soap & water, and sometimes put it in the dishwasher. Avoid the bottles with built in straws. You really can't keep those clean. In general, just look at the lid and the bottle and see if there are any parts that you can't reach with a brush or sponge, and avoid any bottle that can't be cleaned. Don't worry-you'll do fine. I suppose you could periodically soak with water and a drop or two of bleach, or a little vinegar if you're really worried, but it's not necessary.

Try a Sigg bottle. They work very well -- no funky tastes -- and even come in toddler sizes which works great for our son in preschool. I have seen them at Whole Foods for the price of a small home, but you can buy them online for much cheaper. I think the url we used was something like reusablebags.com or similar. I think that kid place on College Avenue has them as well. well hydrated

I use Sigg water bottles for both my daugther and myself. It's stainless steel, comes in different designs and sizes, doesn't leak and cleans well with soap and water. I know people who also like Klean Kanteen for adults and kids. Here's a link to some reviews on these and where to find information http://www.organicpicks.com/category/30107=Feeding_Accessories=30=Babies__a__Kids_p_30%2CBabies___a___Kids_p_30%2CFood__a__Nutrition_p_30001 Cynthia

See the Swiss-made SIGG aluminum water bottles from http://www.reusablebags.com/store/reusable-bottles-sigg-bottles- c-19_33.html (and probably elsewhere) -- they are, according to the website, ''reusable...ultra-lightweight, durable, great looking, 100% recyclable and, most importantly, safe'' -- and really cute, too. They come in grown-up and kid sizes/styles. I'm about to order some for our family. Less plastic

The best ones that I have found and use all the time are Klean Kanteens, all stainless steel (with no plastic inner lining that can often contain harmful chemicals) they come with an optional sport top. I don't know if some local stores carry them, but you can buy them online at www.kleankanteen.com. You mentioned that for health reasons you don't want to use plastic bottles and that you want to use your water bottle for tap water. Since tap water can also contain contaminants that cause health problems I would also suggest that you get a good water purifier for your tap. The local health food stores sell great ones for about $100. Nicole

The Kleen Kanteen is an all-stainless steel bottle that might work for you. (It's supposed to be a little better than the aluminum bottles because it doesn't require an epoxy or ceramic lining to make it food safe). I also just use a clear glass bottle (former HonestTea bottle) for keeping water with me at the office. I like it because I can see how clean it is and how much water I have. I don't know about the bacteria issues you mention with re-use, wouldn't simply washing the bottle take care of that? safely hydrated

Eco Alternative to Bottled Fizzy Water?

April 2007

My family is addicted to fizzy water (Calistoga, Pelligrino, etc.), so much so that we go through about 20 bottles a week. Lately, we've been hating ourselves for the amount of plastic bottles we see in our recycler and realize that we need to make a change...but we don't want to give up fizzy water! Any suggestions for more eco ways to perhaps make bubble water at home? Thanks,
Guilty Guzzlers

i am addicted to it too, and am looking for alternatives. not only the bottle thing, but the environmental cost to ship water long distances is hefty. in the sf chronicle's green guide last week, there was mention of a home ''fizzing'' device. i've also read a while back about a local service that carbonates water and does home delivery--can't remember the name but i think it's on the peninsula; i calculated the price and it was higher than buying bottled water at costco.

Here's an idea: http://coffeetea.about.com/od/water/a/carbonation.htm


Hope it helps. I know other families that have done this. You may have to search around a bit more to get exactly what you want, but it's a lead. Samantha

My family is the same. Feeling guilty about the amount of plastic we were 'recycling', I saw a van for a company called 'Selzer Sisters' and called them. They deliver excellent (much better than store bought) selzer to your door in containers that get returned and reused when empty. They aren't cheap mind you, but we feel it's worth the extra money since it's such a great product and service. guilty no more

I think this might be more of a recommendation than advice but check out the Seltzer Sisters at www.seltzersisters.com They deliver seltzer water and the bottles are continually reused (when they drop off your next delivery they pick up your old bottles to refill). A friend of mine has been getting their deliveries for years and loves them. They deliver all over the Bay Area. Fellow fizzy lover

Filtered tap water (Brita filter, and I live in Berkeley), chilled with a slice of lemon, is actually quite tasty. If it's good enough for Chez Panisse, it's good enough for me!


Or you can buy one of those seltzer water bottles if you want to make your own fizzy water. Former Pelligrino addict

You could try Seltzer Sisters, a service that delivers 10-20 re-usable 2 liter bottles of seltzer to your door as often as once a week. When you have used all the seltzer, you leave the empty bottles for the company to pick up and they re-fill and re-distribute them. They deliver throughout the Bay Area. We have been using their service for several years now and are quite happy with it. You can find out more at http://www.seltzersisters.com/

Check out Soda Club: http://www.sodaclubusa.com/default.htm

We've been making our own fizzy water using their equipment for a couple of years now and really like it. We got the Edition 1 model. Karen

We make our own with a 1-liter seltzer bottle and charger. The bottle cost about $50 and the chargers (cartridges) are about 50-75 cents each. You can get them online (a bit chearper) or at beverage stores (BevMo has them).

---Lovin the Bubblin!---

Just google ''soda maker'' or ''carbonator'' and you'll find home appliances that make fizzy water. Chelsea

Easy! You want to call Seltzer Sisters (1-800-928-3755 or www.seltzersisters.com) for home delivery of seltzer in reusable bottles. It's kinda pricey--$3 per 1.5 liter bottle. But the taste is excellent and you won't feel guilty about throwing away bottles. Nancy

You answer is SELTZER SISTERS, a seltzer delivery service. It is probably the same cost as Pellegrino( depends on where you buy it) But is more expensive than Calistoga. However, I am a mineral water freak, and I think SELTZER SISTERS is FAR better. It is the best I have ever ever had, and I am from New York City, and we know a thing or two about seltzer.

Seltzer is delivered to your house in returnable glass or plastic bottles. She uses filtered water from Hetch Hetchy. It is perfectly carbonated and NEVER goes flat. I am completely addicted. There are two sizes - the big ugly plastic bottles quench my thirst, but I always throw on a case ( 6 bottles ) of glass because somehow she got her hands on hundreds of the old- fashioned glass seltzer bottles from New York and Chicago. Each glass bottle makes me smile. Each is etched with the name of a long ago seltzer delivery service. They are really wonderful. 1- 800-WATER-55. Or, her website is www.seltzersisters.com. Joined the Sisterhood

i recall macy's used to sell chargers of CO2. probably sur la table, crate and barrel, too. you get a special bottle (which you fill with water) that the charger screws into, then it releases CO2 into the water. you'd be throwing away (or recycling?) chargers only. a

For some reason, I didn't get the advice given on this one, so forgive me if I'm repeating info.

We just went through your exact dilemma. We love bubbly water but have been concerned or all the reasons you state. Even at TJ's price Pellegrino is expensive, but more than that, the waste of shipping water across the sea.

We just bought a Lissa 2-liter seltzer making bottle. I bought it on-line from this place, which also has a lot of info that lets you compare models: http://www.prairiemoon.biz/selbotbrsods.html. Their shipping was reasonable too--compared with Target.com, which wanted a lot more.

I bought a lot of the little cartridges to bring down the price. Now, we're making 2 liters--roughly two and a half bottles of the 750 ml Pellegrino bottles--for a dollar. At this rate, the bottle will pay for itself in less than two months.

The water tastes great. It's a little fizzier, but with smaller bubbles. The store we bought from has lots of replacement parts, too.

The only not-great thing about the model we bought is that the directions seem to be translated from Hungarian and aren't quite clear in some places. But we seem to have figured it out.

Good luck! Rosemary

9 Month old won't drink water

March 2007

My 9 month old son has recently started sleeping through the night (!!!) and has been less interested in nursing during the day. This is fine with me, although a bit sad, but I'm getting a little concerned about his fluid intake. He's a VERY healthy eater but he won't drink water from any source. We've tried a variety of sippy cups (soft spout, hard spout, etc.) and regular cups but he just won't swallow the water, it just dribbles down his little chin. He also doesn't take a bottle. I want to avoid giving him juice or anything sweet but I'm out of ideas. He's had less wet diapers lately too, which is making me a little nervous. Any suggestions? Thanks!!

I get not wanting to go the juice route, but we put a squeeze of white grape juice (less sugar than other juices)in our little guy's cup, maybe 1 TBSP, and the rest water. Maybe that would work? Anon.

Best water to make up infant formula?

Jan 2007

We were using filtered tap water to make up infant formula for our twins until I found out about a recent American Dental Association report (November 06) saying not to use flouridated (tap or other) water. Since then, I've been trying to do research on the best bottled water to make up formula, but it is surprisingly hard to find this out! Is it better to use a good mineral water (like Fiji or Evian)? How do you tell which is the safest for babies in terms of pesticide content and mineral content? Or is it better to use a distilled or reverse-osmosis water? Again, which one would be safest for babies in terms of toxic contents???

At this point, we may go back to ready-to-feed, but eventually I'd like to move to an organic formula, and those are only powdered, as far as I know.

If you've done the research, I'd love to hear your reply!

Thanks, Abigail

You can hook up a reverse osmosis water filter to your sink that way you will not have floride or any of the numerous other possible toxins in you water. It is expensive to start but cheaper than bottled water in the long run. Otherwise use Aquafina which a friend of mine had analyzed and found it was the purist. juliet

Bottled water is completely unregulated. Bottlers don't have to check for anything, so they don't know what is in their products. They may test for the presence of some things for marketing purposes, but they're not going to look for things that might make them look bad. In contrast, the quality of tapwater is closely monitored. I always used filtered tapwater for mixing formula. Did you read the actual ADA report itself or did you read somebody's interpretation of the ADA report?

I am sure many people will disagree but we live in Marin county and the HOSPITAL recommended i use tap water. they said it was perfectly fine and we used it from day one. He is 16 months now and thriving. Over time i used the tap water in other places and never had problems (i did make sure there was a water distrcit).Actually when my mom insisted on giving him evian he got sick and the pediatrician thought it was because there were too many minerals in it. magaliusa

I am not sure where you saw that recommendation but its not true. If your baby is formula fed, they are getting no flouride from you. Flouride is necessary to make sure you child has healthy teeth. Teeth start forming at birth and adult teeth by 5 or 6 months so this is a crucial time. I know there is ''controversy'' about flouride, but it is rediculous. flouride in appropriate amounts (~1 ppm) is a fantastic benefit for kids!

My father is a dentist and I was given flouride in drops as a young baby and child before it was in the water. I have the best teeth of anyone I know and NO cavities ever! And it has improved dental heatlth for so many since its been in the tap.

We used a filter on our tap until it broke. We then decided to buy ''Spring water''. Later we found out that the Arrowhead water we were using had up to 2.4 ppm! If you use bottled water CALL the company to ask about the fouride content. Springs have varying amounts and even filtered waters or other processed waters can have it added later.

We ended up with a britta. It removed all of the heavy metals but not the flouride which is in our tap at 1 ppm.

Good luck Leslie

Hi there, We used distilled water to mix up bottles when needed, with both of our babies. I don't remember now where I saw that recommendation though. I think it was in the ''baby guide'' we got from our pediatrician or in one of the baby books I read. Beth

Seeing spots on pots when boiling water

Oct 2006

I live in North Berkeley and recently noticed little spots appearing at the bottom of my stainless steel pots when boiling water. I've had all the pots for a while and until now i've never seen anything form in the pots besides bubbles from boiling. But the spots began appearing this week and the same spots have appeared on 4 different pots, so i have to believe it's something in the water. Has anyone else noticed spots from boiling water recently? Has anyone read or heard of any notices about changes to our drinking water (eg. - more/less flouride, chlorine, etc.)?
curious drinker

Yes! We just moved into Berkeley, and I dumped out a pot of hot pasta water 2 days ago, because having boiled the water for a few minutes, there was a weird scum all along the sides of the pot. No clue what it was. Any chemists out there? writeck

Hi, We are seeing spots to- looks like white mineral deposits of some kind. I don't know why. We live in Pinole. Love to know more. DZ

Sterilize drinking water for baby?

Jan 2006

Is it really necessary to sterilize water (from the tap) that baby will drink? The ''Super Baby Food'' book says ''the water you give to your very young baby must be boiled to kill all bacteria'' (p. 64, 2nd edition). Rose

It's not necessary to sterilize the water unless your babies are particularly fragile (immunocompromised or something). I gave both of my children tap water as soon as they started drinking water. However, I didn't give them any water until they started eating food (around 5 months)--milk has enough water in it already. Tap water is fine

Our pediatrician said an emphatic No to this. She feels that tap water is the best for a baby in a place like this where we have access to clean safe water. My gut says this is true, I think Americans get sick abroad because we aren't exposed to much here, and out bodies are stronger than we give them credit for. Editorially, I love the Super Baby Food porridge and information about making your own babyfood, but she is an absolute nut on some things, boiling water and formatting being two of them. Another Mom

I'm on my second healthy kid and I've never sterilized drinking water (or water for formula) for my babies. I didn't even sterilize bottles after the first week or so. We do use a water filter pitcher at home, but it's not even nearly exclusive - they get tap water, bottled water, restaurant water, etc. all the time. Unless you feel you have a specific issue with your water or pipes, I wouldn't worry about it. laid back mama

I had the same question after reading the Super Baby Food book, and I called the nurses at our pediatricians' office (East Bay Pediatrics) to ask. Their advice: no need to sterilize. Rebecca

No, my pediatrician has always said that tap water is fine. But very young babies do not need any water to drink, unless it is very very hot and they need it for hydration. Otherwise, they should be getting only breastmilk or formula, and maybe a little juice, very watered down. We used warm tap water to mix the formula and the baby cereals, though. Mom of 3 healthy kids

VERY young babies should not be given water, unless they are formula fed, in which case it is a good idea to sterilize the water that is used to mix powdered formula. But by the time a baby is ready for drinking plain water (around 6 months, same as for introducing solid foods), the water doesn't need to be sterilized. Most babies that age are eating sand and paper, after all, so what's a little tap water?! Of course, if you suspect your water is contaminated with lead, boiling won't help; other problematic contaminants aren't really an issue with EBMUD tapwater but might be a concern at, say, a vacation house on well water. Drinks it Straight from the Tap

Looking For New Bottled Water Service

Sept 2006

We're discontinuing our service with Arrowhead bottled water due to repeated problems with bottles having glue and other residues on the neck. We've looked through the web site and the Internet and can't find another bottled water service. Can anyone recommend another bottled water service that they've had positive experiences with?
Tired of Paying for Filthy Water Bottles

We use Alhambra water service: http://www.water.com/splash.asp. They have been reliable and friendly, and I've never seen residue on the bottle. Also, they have both fluoridated and fluoride-free options, in 3- and 5-gallon sizes, if that matters to you (it did to us.)
Thirsty mom

Small Size Bottled Water with Sport Top

Jan 2006

Where can I purchase those small, 8 oz. size, bottled waters with sport tops for my preschooler's lunch? We live in North Berkeley. Safeway used to have the Dannon, Fluoride to go, but no longer stocks them. Thanks

Albertson's at El Cerrito Plaza intermittently has these - I think they're Alhambra (it's just nuts that I don't know the brand considering my life is littered with these bottles!), - I do know they say Jr. Sport on them. They're definitely aimed at kids - they're fluoridated, and sometimes the package even looks like a school bus. There was an older style of pull-open top that was recalled as a choking hazard, but the newer screw-type tops are fine. They do seem to come and go on the store shelves, but if you save the lids you can fit them on the 8 oz. bottles without sport tops that are available when the sport-top ones are not there. We re-use the bottles a few times (as long as they stay out of the sun/heat), and re-use the tops repeatedly this way. Great for lunchboxes, bedside tables, hiking/biking, and the car. Can you tell this is one of the products that makes my life easier? It is! Nancy

Not all, but most Walgreen's carry those small Dannon waters. Good luck! Ellen

I was at the El Cerrito Natural Grocery a few weeks ago and saw ''kiddie'' versions of the Trinity brand water. They were smaller sized for little hands with sport tops. anon

Encouraging kids to drink water

Oct 2004

My children only drink juice and milk. And I am trying to get them used to drink water. I thought someone could give me some good advice on how to make the switch. Thank you. Mom E.

try using special straws and/or drink containers that are reserved for water drinking. water lover

Try watering down the juice. I cut it half half with water. Even if they never drink plain water at least they will be drinking half the juice you used to give them. Jennifer

I found your post pretty funny. My 22-month-old daughter won't drink anything but water. The other day I brought her a cup of milk and said, ''How about some milk?'' And she handed it right back and responded, ''How about some water?'' Any suggestions out there for how I can get her to drink some milk?
Water-logged mom

I think that diluting the juice is one way of getting more water into them, but ultimately, you want them to learn to accept the taste of water and the fact that it is a valid and necessary form of hydration. Nutritionists say you only want kids to drink 8 ounces of juice -- that is one big sippy cup's worth. I was in the same dilemma about a year ago and currently do several things:
- flat out tell my 3 yo son that since he already had juice in the morning, he needs to drink water with his snack or meal
- make a point of drinking water in front of him and let him take sips from my glass, or give him his own ''grown up'' glass (as opposed to plastic cup or sippy)
- give him a sports bottle with water -- he LOVES those
- introduce flavored (but not sweetened) carbonated waters -- he likes those, too.
- bring only water to the park or playground so that when he is thirsty, he has no choice but to drink it I have found that it is a gradual process -- your kids won't embrace water overnight, but if you take baby steps, it'll happen. My son drinks a *lot* less juice now, and will even ask for water at mealtimes.
Been There

Here's what we do:
a) we don't offer juice except sometimes at breakfast. At other meals we just say ''what would you like, water or milk with dinner?
b) We sometimes make water more appetizing by adding a thin slice of lemon or lime (keep some water with lime or lemon in the fridge in a pitcher, so that it's cool and has a bit of citrus taste when you pour)
c) We send them to school with light-weight metal bottles that keep water cool and fresher tasting than plastic. (I found them on sale at Elephant not long ago, and Royal Robbins outlet on Gilman has them - they're made in Switzerland and a bit pricey but durable, and the kids love them.) Not only does the water taste better, but you don't need to worry about leaching issues from plastics.
d) We never use juice boxes due to the wastefulness, the sweetness, etc., but we do sometimes for a car trip include an odwalla as a special treat, But we always pack those nice cool metal water bottles. Natasha B.

My kids ( 3 and 17 months) drink juice but they also drink a bunch of water. When we go on outings to the park or other places, I only bring bottled water. Arrowhead water makes a Jr. sport bottled water. I also have little sports bottles (like sippy cups) I fill with water. My kids really like the small bottles and since there is no other option while we're out, they always drink it. At home I usually offer water or milk to drink. You may have to take juice out of the house for a week or so. Especially juice boxes. Whenever I buy them that's all my kids want to drink. You could also try gradually watering down their juice. Good luck. kathy

We allow only water before bedtime/ after 6:30 or 7pm or so.
1. you could try slowly diluting the juices they have, starting with 1/5 water working upto to 1/2 water 1/2 juice.
2. you could try a mild diluted herbal tea with honey (and maybe milk) to get some water into them and add some variety of liquids.
3. bring only water in sippys on outings- there may be a good chance they'll drink what you brought if that's what you have with you.
4. don't offer juice at dinnertime or one meal
5. water fountains- they're not filtered, but hard to resist for most kids
6. educate with books/ vids. from library, I can't think of any specific, but my kids seem to pick up random health-related facts better from sources like these than anything their parents SAY
7. but do drink lots of water yourself/selves and they will eventually imitate on some level anon

I would try to wean them off juice/milk, rather than looking at it as encouraging water drinking. Start diluting the juice with water, starting with a little water and working up to almost all water and very little juice. This worked for me. We never drank milk, so I can't really address that, though I suppose diluting that migth work, too. Initially, I think I'd start reducing from whole milk (if you're using that) to 2%, 1% etc until their onto fat-free, since if they're drinking a lot of whole milk to start with, they're getting an awful lot of butter fat. heather

I offer my son ( 3 yrs) juice with sparkling water. He LOVES it. Just enough juice to giveit light flavor and color. I make sort of a big deal about it...kind of being a grown up drink. Serve it in a fancier plastic see through glass. Leslie

To :''Encouraging Water Drinking''-- I have a 14 year old who hated water because he always liked to drink something with flavor, so on the advice of the pediatrician I diluted his juice almost 50%. This works best with apple or cranberry or grape, not so well with citrus. He will drink water sometimes now, usually at sports. Another thing I have done this year is buy sparkling water and encourage him to dilute his juice with that. Also, I have tried to get 100% juice and avoid the juices that are heavy on corn syrup. peg

Thinking about getting bottled water system

June 2004

Hello, I live in a household with four adults and two toddlers. We are thinking of getting bottled water delivery with some type of dispenser (the kind you put the big 5-gallon bottled upside down into). The company I have looked into the most is Arrowhead. They have a ceramic crock dispenser that sits on a four-legged oak stand. This is the one I prefer because it's the least expensive and least fancy; it simply dispenses room-temperature water. Here are my questions:

1. Does anyone currently have this stand? Does it seem like the kind of thing that can be toppled over by two curious toddlers? {I called the company and they said they never had any complaints about the stand falling over, but I am concerned about the difference between a full and empty tank of water and it's likelyhood to fall if knocked by the little ones. )

2. Does anyone have ideas about a better, inexpensive way to get bottled spring water in the home? (I am aware of the dangers of using too much ''purified'' water so I am not interested in that.)

Thank you very much, Jo

Our water bottle lasted through a wild toddlerhood. I was the one who knocked it over. I'd keep it in a corner, just the same. Anon

We have the Alhambra water service with the ceramic crock dispenser which sits on a wood stand. We have had our toddler- aged niece and nephews over many times and have never had any worries or close calls in terms of the dispenser being knocked over. Our biggest problem, however, is keeping them from playing with the spout and emptying water all over our floor (it's unfortunately right at toddler eye level) Hope this helps! Shami

If you get your tap water from EBMUD or the San Francisco water system, you can simply fill a clean bottle from your tap. Both systems get water from the Sierra and deliver very high quality water to their clients. By 'high quality', I mean soft water, low in total dissolved solids, low in minerals, arsenic, radon, and so on. Also very high bacteriological quality. Unlike bottled water, that from the large distributors is tested thoroughly and often.

However if for some reason you don't want any traces of fluoride or chlorine in your water, you could stick with commercial bottled water. If you use your own purification system, remember that ALL systems age, degrade, and need monitoring and upkeep. Good luck! George

Testing tap water at home

Oct 2002

We would like to test our tap water at home as our eleven month old is less able to deal with lots of minerals or other disolved chemicals than we are. Any ideas? John and David

Test tap water for what? Assume you'll find at least chlorine, and I think chloramines and probably fluoride. Do you want to drink those? I understand that the minerals in tap water aren't the kind we need and can use anyway. When EBMUD tells us that tap water isn't safe for our fish and studies say pregnant women shouldn't be drinking it..well, that sent me shopping for bottled water. Distilled water is probably the best kind to drink. anon

You can get information about water quality tests from the company that supplies water to your house, but it won't include any information about chemicals that are entering your water from the pipes in your house (lead, iron, etc.) A list of companies certified to test drinking water is at http://www.valleywater.org/Water/Where_Your_Water_Comes_From/Local_Water/Wells/Certified_laboratories.shtm You can contact one of the these companies for information on how to collect and send them a sample. Costs vary, of course, depending on the lab and the analysis you want. You probably want to test for inorganics, which should include nitrate, alkalinity, conductivity, and total dissolved solids. M