Exclusive of "niche market" waters(glacier, mineral, carbonated, alkaline, etc), there are basically five(5) major types of water found in retail bottles:
(1) Natural "artesian"
Artesian Water/Artesian Well Water: Ready for some science? Artesian water comes from a well that taps a confined aquifer-a water-bearing underground layer of rock or sand-in which the water level is above the top of the aquifer.
SAMPLE "ARTESIAN WATER LABELS
(2) Natural "spring"
Ah, the ever-popular "spring water" is defined as bottled water derived from an underground formation from which water flows naturally to the surface of the earth. To qualify as spring water, it must be collected only at the spring or through a borehole tapping the underground formation feeding the spring. If the collection process uses some type of an external force, the water must be from the same stratum as the spring and must retain the quality and all of the same physical properties of water that flows naturally from a spring to the surface.
SAMPLE "SPRING WATER" LABELS
Both spring and artesian waters, if suitably clean at the source, require a minimal amount of preconditioning. And, in most cases, the state or federal enforcement officials require that no additional processing(mineral removal or addition, etc) be done on these two types of water if the label "spring" or "artesian" are placed on the label by the bottler.
(3) Purified Water
This is a type of drinking water that has been treated with processes such as distillation, deionization or reverse osmosis (we'll get to those terms later). Basically, this just means that the bacteria and dissolved solids have been removed from the water by some process, making it "purified." This type of bottled water is usually labeled as purified drinking water but can also be labeled for the specific process used to produce it, for example, reverse osmosis drinking water or distilled drinking water. Many bottled water brands are actually purified drinking water.
(4) Sparkling Bottled Water
SAMPLE "SPARKLING WATER" LABELS
Yes, the fizzy kind. But what makes it fizzy? This type of water contains the same amount of carbon dioxide that it had when it emerged from its source. Sparkling bottled waters may be labeled as sparkling drinking water, sparkling mineral water, sparkling spring water, etc.
(4) Municipal Water
Of course, you know it's the type of water piped right into your home. While tap water isn't regulated by the FDA (but we thought it should be included here), it must meet the strict standards of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Municipal tap water is generally of excellent quality, however, many people prefer the taste and enjoy the convenience of bottled water, which, in most cases, undergoes additional processing and often retains the pleasant characteristics of its natural source.
(5) Reverse Osmosis
(5) Steam Distilled
For purposes of simplicity, we omit deionized.
In these two cases, simple particulate and organic(carbon based materials) are allowed to be removed and then followed by UV and ozonation prior to the bottling process. No other processes are allowed.