Panic-buying bottled water? Here’s the truth about whether you need to add it to your shopping cart VS good ol’ tap.

Original article can be found on the Green Philly blog

COVID-19 Panic-buying leads to unnecessary stockpiling of plastic water bottles. Here’s what you need to know about your tap.

Everyone is familiar with witnessing the recent phenomenon of panic purchasing. Shelves that are typically home to familiar products are currently bare. (Pssst. Has anyone seen TP lately?!?)

Recently, stores like ShopRite have begun rationing the packs of bottled water that people can purchase. Although toilet paper may be a justified worry, when it comes to quenching your thirst, water isn’t one to fret.

People should continue to use and drink tap water instead of purchasing plastic water bottles in bulk. According to the EPA, there’s no evidence that COVID-19 is in the water.

“Citizens [should] continue to use and drink tap water as usual. At this time, there are no indications that COVID-19 is in the drinking water supply or will affect the reliable supply of water.” 


Philly tap water Is STILL safe for consumption during COVID-19.

The Philadelphia Water Department used social media to remind Philadelphians to save money (and room in their shopping carts) by foregoing any bottled water purchases.

The Water Department has also declared that city residents will not lose access to water, even if they fall behind on payments through May 15th. According to a Philadelphia Water Department Statement, Commissioner Randy Hayman said:

“The safety of our customers and our employees is, as always, our highest priority. As we face this challenge as a city, the Water Department wants Philadelphians to know that losing access to water is one thing they won’t have to worry about. We will not shut off customers who fall behind on payments through May 15, and we will continue to provide the critical core services that are our mission.”

Randy Hayman, Philadelphia Water Commissioner

Filtration Deactivates Virus

Conventional water treatment methods that use filtration and disinfection, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19,” reported the CDC.

Philadelphia Water echoed that its filtration and disinfection will remove and inactivate the COVID-19 virus.

The switch to tap water consumption always is better for the wallet, along with limiting plastic waste. After all, bottled water is less regulated than bottled, contains hormone-disrupting phthalates, and takes more water to produce than is in the bottle. (Editor’s note: Our advice on drinking tap hasn’t changed since 2008.)

Not in Philly proper? Contact your local provider if you’re unsure about water safety.

If you are still unsure about forgoing the 24 pack of Poland Spring Water? “Homeowners that receive their water from a public water utility may contact their provider to learn more about treatments being used. Treatments could include filtration and disinfectants such as chlorine that remove or kill pathogens before they reach the tap,” according to the EPA.  

Broke in Philly
Green Philly is one of more than 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on economic mobility. Read more at or follow at @brokeinphilly.

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