Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tap Water: Philadelphia vs. Delaware

Pictured here is some water from the Delaware river:

The Delaware river is widely perceived as a very dirty river, and for good reasons. Much of its length is lined with trash, rusting industrial implements, old tires, not to mention shipping industries, oil refineries. Who knows what invisible pollutants are found in it.

Tap Water in Philadelphia vs. Delaware:

When I lived in Delaware, there was also a public perception that the tap water tasted awful. I agreed. I don't know why, but it just tasted bad. It tasted like chemicals...overly chlorinated perhaps, but it was worse than the straight bad taste of slightly-too-chlorinated tap water. Keep in mind, this wasn't even water taken from the Delaware river--it was taken from a much cleaner, local source. But it still tasted awful, among the worst-tasting tap water I've ever sampled outside of East Germany (the most "sketchy" place I was bold enough to actually taste the water).

Now, the tap water here in Philadelphia tastes much better to me. No noticeable chlorine aroma, no other chemical smells. And it brews better tea. I don't notice it on the strong teas, but when I brew a more mild, delicate tea, I definitely notice a difference. It's not dramatic, but it is well-appreciated. I've especially found it helpful for the milder green teas.

While I appreciate the improvement in taste, I want to draw attention to what matters in the end: that we clean up and protect our environment, including not only water, but all natural resources and natural ecosystems. When we move into an area with cleaner air or water, it may be pleasant for us, but someone else is still breathing that air and drinking that water.

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