By Elizabeth Royte
Having already exceeded milk and beer, and moment now merely to soda, bottled water is at the verge of turning into the preferred beverage within the nation. The manufacturers became so ubiquitous that we are hardly ever wide awake that Poland Spring and Evian have been as soon as actual springs, effervescent in distant corners of Maine and France. in simple terms now, with the water buying and selling within the billions of bucks, have we all started to question what it truly is we are ingesting.
In this clever, entire paintings of narrative journalism, Elizabeth Royte does for water what Michael Pollan did for meals: she reveals the folks, machines, economies, and cultural developments that convey it from far-off aquifers to our supermarkets. alongside the best way, she investigates the questions we needs to necessarily resolution. Who owns our water? How a lot may still we drink? may still we need to pay for it? Is faucet secure water secure to drink? And if that is so, what number chemical compounds are dumped in to make it potable? What occurs to all these plastic bottles we stock round as predictably as mobile phones? and naturally, what is higher: faucet water or bottled?
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Additional resources for Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It
Pure Mountain Springs, now once removed from the PUC’s price cap, turns around and sells the water to Poland Spring for four cents a gallon more. Who is Pure Mountain Springs, this ingenious middleman? It is Eric Carlson, a hydrogeologist who lives downstate, and John Hastings, the water company’s superintendent and a son of Hugh. Across the United States, surface water—the ocean, ponds, and rivers—are held in common as part of the public trust. But groundwater falls under different rules, depending on the state.
So this is it,” I think. ” The water tastes good to me. It is cold—forty-five degrees according to Brennan—and it is fresh. It has no smell. Beyond that, I can say only that I feel privileged to be drinking straight from the ground, a rare possibility in this age of ubiquitous animal-borne diseases and pollution. I can choose from nearly a thousand types of bottled water on store shelves, but I can’t, with infinitesimally few exceptions, drink from a naturally occurring body of water. Magically appearing from inside the earth, springwater has always had a powerful mystique.
Though the fifteen-hundred-acre property is private, Nestlé, a Swiss-owned conglomerate and the largest food-processing company in the world, isn’t strict about trespassing. The road is gated but no fence lines the property. If hunters call first to make arrangements, they are welcome. But it isn’t hunting season now. At the bottom of the valley we park near five matching well houses, smaller versions of the stone building uphill. We walk into the woods and down a staircase flanked by white pine and larch.