Why and How To Get Your Own “Free” Spring Water
The Why and How We Switched From Tap Water to “Free” Spring Water
About a year and a half ago we walked into a pet store to buy cat food and walked out with a 25 gallon fish tank. I’ll be the first to admit that we totally fell for the money-making market of genetically modified glow-in-the dark (UV light) fish. Having never been fish owners, we followed all the directions. We filled the tank with tap water, used the specified water treatment drops, set everything up and let the filter run for a week before incorporating fish. We had 8 fish total, until we looked in the next week and had 7. We replaced the fish, only to have another one go 2 weeks later. Every 1-2 weeks a fish would die. After a few repetitions we found out our pet store would replace any fish that died in 30 days pending a water test. So we brought in a sample of our tank water. The test came back fine, maybe “a little hard but OK” the sales clerk said and gave us a free fish. Another 2 weeks, another dead fish, so we added a tank heater and began the habit of changing out a small percentage of the water every week or so. Still dying. We thought that maybe short lifespan was just a result of genetically modified fish? After nearly 6 months of these bi-weekly fatalities, we were about to give up our new (and unexpectedly expensive) hobby, until we changed our water source.
We originally sought out a natural spring water source because we wanted a drinking water that was fluoride-free. We tried buying 1 gallon jugs of spring water, but we knew this cost would add up (even at less than $1/gal) not to mention the plastic jugs were wasteful. Using the website FindASpring.com we located a natural spring near us. We bought a case of WaterBricks(more info on these below!), filled them up at the spring, and brought them home. Thus we began to drink completely untreated and free spring water. We did several swaps with our fish tank, pulling out about 30-40% of the tank water, and replacing it with untreated spring water. A funny thing happened. The fish stopped dying.
It has been 13 months since we made the switch to our natural/free/untreated spring water. In the past 13 months we have only had *ONE* fish die. We went from averaging 25 dead fish a year, to 1. Sounds crazy right? and unnerving? and motivation to see if there’s a natural spring near you? Yeah we thought so too.
Want to make the same switch? Here are some more details!
- Treating it? Even though we drank the spring water untreated for about 6 months, we began to follow the Red Cross guidelines and add a small amount of bleach to the WaterBrick container prior to drinking the water. We can’t taste the bleach and it gives us a little more piece of mind. The red cross will detail how much bleach per water amount and how long you need to wait before drinking the treated water. Type of bleach you buy does matter for how much you use, and bleach does expire (loses potency) after a year, so do your research before buying just any kind. What goes into our fish tank is still completely untreated though.
- Healthy? We all drink the spring water. When I was pregnant with Lily I drank it, our kids drink it now, all our guests drink it. No objections and no one has gotten sick, and Lily now 16 months is all healthy and cute smiles (also chatty and likes to climb to dangerous heights). Our only complaint is how AWFUL tap water now tastes after getting used to the spring water. It’s actually so bad that when I try and sneak tap water into my 3 year old’s cup (like if I’m waiting for the water to finish treating) she’ll make a face and loudly proclaim “This is yucky water! Please can I have spring water?” (ok, ok, she doesn’t always say please).
- What are WaterBricks? WaterBricks are re-usable, easy to carry, stack-able, HDPE, BPA-free plastic containers specifically designed for effectively holding and carrying water.
As the name implies, they look like giant bricks and their design allows them to securely stack (kind of like Legos). You can buy a single 3.5gal brick, a half size, an attachable spigot, or a bulk order. They also sell brown regular top and green wide top bricks for storing food.
- Ease of Use? To make the water readily available we purchased this nice 3 gallon stainless steel beverage dispenser and keep a few WaterBricks in the kitchen pantry to refill the dispenser as needed. The stainless steel matches all out kitchen appliances, and the height allows us to fit our tallest glass under the spout. Super easy for guests to understand what it is, and use too. I highly recommend it, plus Webstaurant’s customer service is great (important to me!), AND don’t worry, it comes with the “Iced Tea” sticker not attached.
- Cost Effective? We wondered which was cheaper-buying bottled water, or paying for the gas and WaterBricks to get our own water (hence the quotations around “free” in the title). Well, at our local Sam’s Club we can buy 6 gallons of water for about $4.50. It’s 50 miles round trip to get the spring water, and we purchased 25 Waterbricks at about $20/each. Using the water for drinking, cooking, and canning, we fill up 1-2X per month. Within one year we essentially “paid off” the cost of the WaterBricks by not buying spring water at the store. Now even when factoring in the cost of gas, we “save money” each time we get our own spring water. Not to mention we no longer have to keep dumping money into trying to keep our fish alive.