Packaged drinking water is often confused with mineral water, although they are not the same. These are two different types of water sold in the market and safe for drinking. However, they differ in many ways like taste and content. Such water also goes into drinking water machines.
The packaged drinking water consists of water sourced from natural resources like spring water, well or drilled water sources. Such water then goes through a process of distillation and then packaged in either water bottles. The process of filtration goes into cleaning and filtering the naturally obtained water in order to filter out the contaminants like germs, dirt, mud, etc.
Here’s a list of some frequently asked questions about packaged drinking water:
1. What is packaged drinking water?
Packaged drinking water is not necessarily mineral water. The manufacturers use water from any sources they want, which will later be treated and disinfected. The treatment process will include complete filtration, UV or ozone treatment and Reverse osmosis (RO). Water then becomes fit for human consumption and is sold in the markets.
2. What is natural mineral water?
Natural mineral water is usually the water that is sourced from underground and packaged closed to the source since it meets the specified standards set for the quality of water without any processing.
3. How much water would be needed to produce a liter of bottled drinking water?
On average, approximately 1.39 liters of water are used to produce a liter of the water bottle as per the International Bottled Water Association.
4. What are the licenses that one requires for setting up a packaged drinking water plant in India?
Following are the licenses that are required while one wants to set up a packaged drinking water plant in India:
- A water test report from an authorized laboratory
- Registration of small scale industries
- Certification for pollution control
- ISI Certification from Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)
- Medical certificates are a must for workers
- Pest control certification
- No objection certificate (NOC) from Gram Panchayat. (not mandatory)
- Certificates from chemist, microbiologist
- Trademark registration
- Required ownership related documents of land/lease of land for setting up the plant
- Memorandum of association of companies/partnership deed
- Electrical load sanction
- Sanction layout plan
5. Is it compulsory to have a packaged drinking water plant to be regulated?
Yes, it is absolutely compulsory for anyone who intends to set up a packaged drinking water plant to acquire the ISI mark from the Bureau of India Standards (BIS). However, the bottled drinking water is regulated under IS:13428, and Packaged Drinking Water is regulated under IS:14543.
6. Can one apply for the ISI mark to start the production?
No, the unit cannot commence the commercial production of a water plant without official approval. First, the official inspection of the plant and tests in an independent lab are carried out and then official approval with license number is acquired.
7. Is one bound to have an in-house laboratory?
Yes, it is compulsory to have an in-house lab, and it must be conducted by expert chemists or microbiologists. Such labs should also be prepared to carry out the physical, chemical and microbiological tests prescribed by IS:3025.
8. Is there any standard rule regarding the specific volume of packaged drinking water?
Yes, bottled water must be sold only in prescribed standards as per a notice issued by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs which amends the Standards of Weights & Measures of Rules. And the prescribes measures are as follows:
100 ml / 150 ml / 200 ml / 250 ml / 300 ml/ 330 ml in cans.
500 ml / 750 ml / 1 liter / 2,3,4,5 liters and thereafter in multiples of 5 liters.
9. Is it permitted to run a soft drink unit and packaged drinking water unit from the same premises?
No, it is neither recommendable nor permissible to manage the soft drink unit and packaged drinking water unit in one place. The ingredients utilized for soft drinks can potentially contaminate the surroundings and equipment.
10. Is consuming water packaged in plastic bottles safe?
The plastic that is used to store water and found on supermarket shelves are made of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). This material is completely safe.
11. Can water bottles be re-used to store water?
The disposable plastic water bottles are meant for single-time use and are not designed for re-use. Since they are designed like that, it is not recommended to re-use them in the interest of proper hygiene and safety of the consumer. Nevertheless, these bottles can be utilized for other different purposes like storing your cleaning liquid or keeping planters, drip irrigation, and so forth.
12. Why does different bottled water vary in taste?
The bottled water is naturally sourced water which carries different concentrations of minerals in them based on the land that they come from; this gives them a unique taste and is completely safe even if tasted different.