What’s in your Bottled Water?

I websurfed across this chart while looking for some information on bottled water—the chart is courtesy of Palomar Mountain Spring Water. All the analyses of competitors’ water are also claimed as spring water sourced, except for Sparkletts which is classified as well water. Both are underground sources, aren’t they? What’s the difference?

According to the International Bottled Water Organization, the IBWO, well water and spring water are two FDA approved label designations for the source of the water that’s been bottled; in addition, the approved labeling list also includes: artesian water or artesian well water, purified water, mineral water, and sparkling bottled water.

The two distinct water sources listed in Palomar Mountain Spring Water’s chart essentially mean that the spring water labeled product flows naturally to the surface before bottling, while well water is from a man-made hole bored into the ground above an aquifer. My first question is cleared up, the answer is no, only well water is an underground source prior to bottling. Of course, what feeds the spring is undergroud; but read on, it’s not yet the end of the story.

The IBWO further states that the label designation of spring water may allow for a hole to be bored into the earth above the precise geological formation feeding the spring’s natural outflow, and the water from that well must be of the same quality, composition, and possessing the same physical properties as the water flowing naturally to the surface.

Under that definition, spring water may now come from a well, and hence become sourced, before bottling, from underground. This is probably a good idea, but isn’t a more descriptive label “spring-well water”? The information presented above means that spring water may not be well water unless it’s from a well: well water is not spring water, unless it’s also from a spring! That statement could be logically reduced to: spring water doesn’t equal well water, except when spring water equals well water.

If it feels like circular reasoning… :? …someone’s probably trying to sell something.