Water on Tap—Upper West Side edition

There has been much brouhaha in the press about drinking tap versus bottled water. Last summer, heads of the food world like Alice Waters, Marion Nestle, and Michael Pollan declared tap is best. And environmentalists cited concerns related to the natural gas and oil required to make water bottles, 23% of witch are never recycled as they’re not subject to deposit and redemption plans, as well as energy costs of transporting water.

Then last month, the Associated Press published findings from an independent study they conducted which found prescription drugs in tap water supplies. In response to AP findings, the EPA stands by drinking water supplies. They claim the findings are at subtheraputic levels and should not be cause for alarm. The tests were conducted in parts per million and parts per billion.

The response was interesting to me. On a tour of St. Albans Cooperative Creamery in Vermont, the plant manager, Tom Gates, explained to the group that milk is tested in the parts per billion. If any antibiotics are found in the raw milk delivered from the farms, the milk is dumped. It cannot be sold or consumed. Note that there is currently no economical tests for sulfa drugs or rBST. So, testing currently is not conducted for sulfa drugs or for rBST. A question I wonder about—why are we concerned with antibiotics and hormones in milk, but not with the various prescription drugs currently found in the drinking water supply? Testing for both are conducted to detect parts per million and parts per billion*.

Despite my green streak, bottle versus tap is an issue the jury remains out on, for me. In summer 01993 I found myself as something of a canary in a coalmine. That summer, I had what seemed like an unending case of food poisoning or stomach virus. But it turned out to be the exceptionally high levels of e coli in the water. Since then, I’ve been weary of tap water, no matter where I am. There are some exceptions. I will drink straight from the tap—from houses at the base of mountains with their own well supply, and Argentina. I was amazed by how crisp and clean the water in Buenos Aires is.

Recently, I had dinner with a friend at a new restaurant where the server informed us they filter their tap water. The restaurant is a higher end health food restaurant. I thought it was great they provided this seeming added value service to a product they do not charge for, yet. I wondered if other restaurants do the same. I decided to call and find out. When I call, I simply ask—do you filter the tap water that you serve to your guests? Listed below are findings for health food restaurants listed on the Menu Pages website in the Upper West Side. Each week I will publish findings for a different neighborhood.

Ayurveda Cafe
706 Amsterdam Ave | At 94th St

Yes

Community Food & Juice
2893 Broadway | Btwn 112th & 113th St

Yes

Josephina
1900 Broadway | Btwn 63rd & 64th St

Yes

Josie’s Restaurant
300 Amsterdam Ave | At 74th St

Yes (three times filtered)

Lite Delight
532 Columbus Ave | Btwn 85th & 86th S

No

Mana
646 Amsterdam Ave | Btwn 91st & 92nd St

Yes

Pita Grill
221 W 77th St | Btwn Bway & Amsterdam Ave

No

Salud..

*Addendum—The AP report cited testing also was conducted in the parts per trillion.

The archive:

Water on Tap—Midtown West

Water on Tap—Midtown South/Chelsea

Water on Tap—Soho/Tribeca/Financial district

Water on Tap—Village/West Village

Water on Tap—E.Vil LES

Water on Tap—Murray Hill/Gramercy

Water on Tap—Midtown East

Water on Tap—Upper East Side edition

Water on Tap—Uptown edition

Water on Tap—Upper West Side edition

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