Drink up, San Franciscans—and straight from the tap, nonetheless.
We’re in a culture that’s fetishized the very act of consuming water. Plastic single-use bottles, filled with spring-fed-this and glacial-runoff-that, weigh the shelves of supermarkets, gas stations, farmers markets. Much like the coffee we choose to tour around our Bay Area city streets, water has become a status symbol. Nestle LifeWater gives a subtle nod that you’re a twenty-something rubbing two nickels together for rent; Perrier shows that you, at some point, stepped-out of an Uber Black on Market Street last weekend.
But, for those among us who are fortunate to call yourself Bay Area locals, put down the Dasani in drag and, instead, reach for the tap.
As CityLab and Mother Jones report, EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) new Tap Water Database compiles data from utility reports collected between 2010 and 2015 and gauges the level and severity of possible contaminants in every US ZIP code with the push of a button. (Read: that’s a hell of allot of leg work to do on your own—so they saved us a boat load of time.)
Unlike our sister cities to the south—Los Angeles and San Diego—San Francisco has only nine identified contaminants; of those nine, only three are considered quote “possibly hazardous.”
Oh, and L.A. and S.A.? 23.
Twenty-three contaminants types of contaminants have been reported flowing into the sinks and through the showy heads of SoCal residents, with nine of those being considered “known to be hazardous.”
To be those numbers into a somewhat tangible perspective: the average bottled drinking water contains between six and eight contaminant types, with brands even boasting numbers in the tweens.
So, gang, open-up those reusable water canteens and seek out a nearby facet or refilling station, all while saving a few bucks in the process. San Francisco’s city water, apparently, never goes out of clean-free style.