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How Safe is the Water in Gloucester City?

By Gloucester City Councilman-at-large Derek Timm

Fact-Checking: The Water in Gloucester City Screen Shot 2022-05-30 at 21.41.34


GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ--Gloucester City has one of the newest water processing and treatment plants in South Jersey. With a state-of-the-art filtration system in place and on-site laboratory testing done regularly, the water produced here shows no trace of readily readable toxins or chemicals leaving the facility after the treatment. Many factors including the age of supply lines, pipes, and conditions in your home or business regarding the purity level coming out of your faucet can vary, but rest assured drinking tap water is possibly safer than sticking your tongue out during a rainstorm. Rainwater can carry bacteria, parasites, viruses, and chemicals that could make you sick, and it has been linked to disease outbreaks.

As much as 40% of bottled water sold in stores actually comes directly from municipal tap water. And while tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, bottled water isn’t, and is subject to less strict testing. The manufacturing, distribution, and disposal of bottled water is also harmful to the environment and bottled water contributes to litter in our neighborhoods. Charles Fishman states that bottled water from the Food and Drug Administration standard does not necessarily have to be safer than tap water. A study from Olson (1999) also concluded that bottled water is no safer or cleaner than tap water.

Bottled water costs about $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon, while in Philadelphia, tap water costs less than 1 cent per gallon. Average bottled water drinkers spend between $200 and $2,000 per person, per year on the water, while tap drinkers spend less than $2.00 – so bottled water costs hundreds to thousands of times as much as a tap.  In Australia, homes in Sydney and all other states have access to clean water.

Compared to local governments, private utilities charge the typical household 33 percent more for water and 63 percent more for sewer service. For several states, the difference is even starker. In Delaware, investor-owned utilities charge 75 percent more than municipalities do for water. In Texas, American Water charges two and a half times as much as the typical municipality for sewer service. Private water systems can be for-profit systems managed by investors or shareholders. Though rates are monitored by a state’s public commission, private systems are not necessarily subject to this regulating board.

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