Treehuggers sponsor water tasting

Rachel Cho and Lena Kogan, Lena Kogan, and Rachel Cho

In order to promote environmentally friendly water-drinking habits among students, the Treehuggers Environmental Club held a “Tap Water Challenge” last month.

“The goal of the Tap Water Challenge was to show people that tap water is just as good as bottled water,” said freshman Tessa Peierls, a member of the Treehuggers club. “You don’t need to waste plastic to get water.”

As part of the event, Treehuggers Club members conducted a blind taste test by giving out samples of Poland Spring, Dasani, Aquafina, and filtered tap water from the hydration station.

“At first it was kind of a ‘what if?’ situation,” said senior Alison Peraza, president of Treehuggers Club. “What if people think that tap water actually tastes bad?”

Participants were then asked to identify the tap water and the best-tasting water.

“It’s interesting to see how bottled water measures up to tap water,” said Peierls. “Usually, it was far worse.”

At the conclusion of the Tap Water Challenge members of the Treehuggers Club announced the results of their event which indicated a tie for best-tasting between tap water and Dasani. This contradicted a previous poll that asked students which water they thought tasted best.

“People are under the impression that bottled water tastes better,” said Ms. Julie Barbieri, the Treehuggers Club advisor. “In reality, Dasani and Aquafina are simply municipal water, just like the one that comes out of your filter or faucet.

Although Poland Spring water is the only one of the tested water bottle companies that takes its water from a natural spring, it was voted as one of the worst tasting waters in the blind water test. Dasani, which tied for best taste with tap water, does not come from a natural spring and actually contains various additives to improve the taste.

Peraza developed this idea to support the annual theme of water and a protest against fracking, the common term for hydraulic fracturing, a process which is used to derive natural gas and oil from underground. Water is combined with other compounds to form a substance called facture or fissure, and is then forced under high pressure into the ground. The pressure then forces the gas to be released into wells for harvesting.

Fracking is responsible for a boon of cheap, low-carbon emission domestic energy, used for over a million wells, but it may have other environmental consequences for surrounding air and water.

“I want to make a difference,” said Peierls. “Small changes can really help the world.”

The Treehuggers’ Tap Water Challenge was a success in proving that filtered tap water is just as good as bottled water.

“It’s cool that it gets people involved,” said Peraza. “For most events, you actually have to be a member of Treehuggers to participate, but this applies to more people.”