Young and Hungry

D.C. Water vs. Bottled Water?

My recent cover story on the efforts by DC Water to promote the local tap as a culinary product stirred up a lot of opinions about how local water tastes.

Now the agency is putting the public to the test to see if you (yes, you!) can tell the difference between tap, filtered, and Deer Park water. Starting tomorrow through Oct. 10, the agency will hold blind taste-test challenges every Wednesday, rotating through each ward in the city.

DC Water has been conducting regular taste tests for the public since 2010, but now it plans to group them as an annual series, "Water Wednesdays." DC Water staff will set up booths at each location, and anyone can stop by to sample. Here’s where to go to participate:

Ward 2 — Aug. 22
2221 I St. NW

Ward 3 — Aug. 29
Whole Foods (Tenley Circle)
4530 40th St. NW

Ward 4 — Sept. 5
Petworth Metro
3700 Georgia Ave. NW

Ward 5 — Sept. 12
Home Depot
901 Rhode Island Ave. NE

Ward 6 — Sept. 19
Southwest Waterfront
1100 4th St. SW

Ward 7 — Sept. 26
Penn-Branch Shopping Center
3220 Pennsylvania Ave. SE

Ward 8 — Oct. 3
Ward 8 Constituent Building
2100 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE

Ward 1 — Oct. 10
Columbia Heights Metro
3030 14th St. NW

  • Sally

    DC Water is great at self-promotion. And equally great at jacking up everyone's water bills.

  • John

    The city gave tainted water for two years and did not admit it was substandard until they were caught. When there are heavy storms and drinking water is compromised the water company does not inform the public to filter the water. It is a trust issue with DC Water and knowing when it is unhealthy. You can not always taste the microisms swimming in the water. But of course you can taste the chlorine when they up that cleaner in the water.

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  • anon

    I'd just as soon drink straight from a drainage ditch in a developing country as I'd trust anything that comes directly out of my tap courtesy of WASA. The sad part is that they have enough cheek that they would make this same claim now as they would have in the middle of their lead tainted water scandal

  • DC Water

    DC Water delivers tap water that is treated to maintain its high quality as it travels from the treatment plant to customer taps, including disinfection and corrosion control. Water quality is monitored and maintained to meet strict standards 24/7, 365 days a year. The District’s drinking water supply travels in a closed, pressurized system of reservoirs and pipes that ensures water quality is not compromised, including during heavy storms or other weather events. All monthly test results and our detailed annual water quality report are available at

    We understand that people may have a preference in the taste of their drinking water and filters are an effective option for minimizing taste and odor issues. The DC Water Filter Guide is a helpful tool for selecting a household filter -

    If you have a water quality issue or question, our Drinking Water Division is here to help and available at 202-612-3440 or

  • steve

    DC Water, or any local water treatment provider can clean up the water all the want. it may be safe and it may be fine. But there is still a distict DC water taste that is just not appealing. and no amount of treatment can fix that.

    so this will be an easy test...deer park will win overwhelmingly

  • anon

    @DC Water

    We understand that people may have a preference in the taste of their drinking water and filters are an effective option for minimizing taste and odor issues. The DC Water Filter Guide is a helpful tool for selecting a household filter -

    And ANSI Std. 53 certified filters are a must to remove lead from drinking water.

  • Nabobolink

    Mmmmm, chunky style!

  • Bottle h2o Drinker

    Let me get this straight. Water is pumped from the Potomac, treated and sent to customers as tap water. Sewage is sent to Blue Plains, treated, and dumped into the Potomac. Is that right? Why even use the river? Oh that's right, there is still a significant combined sanitary/sewage overflow problem in DC. When it rains, our sewage dumps directly into the Potomac, and that's the source of our drinking water. Come on WASA, let us drink our bottled water. We will still use your product for washing, bathing, and for watering our plants. Stop the silly rebranding efforts and taste tests that are making you look like amateurs.

  • Dave Thomas


    W ater
    A lways
    T astes
    E arthy and
    R usty.

    I t
    S mells

    L ike
    F arted
    E verywhere.

  • Kim Simpson MPH

    You cannot taste low level contaminants in the ppb range, like chloroform and hexavalent chromium (which are in DC Water), but you can taste and smell the off gas chlorination byproducts. You cannot taste the pharmaceuticals and other endocrine disruptors that aren't tested for, and might be the cause of male youth breast development and the declining male sperm count worldwide. Look it up. Don't listen to the claims of a local water utility trying to boost sales. Luckily, we have safe alternatives like Saratoga Springs spring water in clean blue recycleable glass bottles that cause no harm to the environment. Go Senator Schumer! BTW, I have tn ties to Schumer. I just oppose an organization that promotes a product that is inferior. Let us drink our Saratoga and relax in peace!

  • John C, Benson

    "WATER IS LIFE?" How bout dirty WATER TAKES LIVES? Your water might meet standards, but EPA hasn't published a drinking water standard since 2001. It is still dirty, I read a comment about what was in the water from the 2011 annual report. Lots of contamination. Stop pushing it like it was a new version of Red Bull.