Put down the plastic and turn on the tap!

DC Water delivers safe, affordable, high-quality tap water to our customers in the District. We test hundreds of water samples each week throughout the city to ensure that our water surpasses federal drinking water standards. Learn more about the benefits of tap water and the ways that DC Water promotes drinking water in the metro region.

Toast to Tap: DC Water celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act

On October 2, 2014, DC Water and regional water utilities partnered with national water organizations and the Environmental Protection Agency to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Congress passed the Act in 1974 and authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate drinking water supplies by setting water quality and delivery standards. The event brought together members of the water community and local businesses to highlight the value of safe water to the Washington metropolitan region. DC Water General Manager George Hawkins reflects on this important milestone and applauds the legislation in his blog post, Let's Toast to Tap.

Ken Kopocis, Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Water, leads a toast to tap water in honor of the Safe Drinking Water Act's 40th anniversary.

Why choose tap?

  • Tap water is safe.
    Tap water is strictly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). DC Water conducts extensive water quality testing and reports all test results to the EPA and our customers. Each year, we publish a summary of test results in our Annual Drinking Water Quality Report. Bottled water manufacturers are not required to follow the same testing and reporting rules as public drinking water providers.
  • Tap water is more sustainable than bottled water.
    Compared to tap water:
    • Bottled water uses 2,000 times as much energy to produce, package and transport.
    • The manufacturing process requires 1.6 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottled water.
    • Only 25% of plastic bottles are recycled, while the rest end up in landfills and waterways. With a reusable bottle, consumers can completely eliminate plastic bottle waste.
  • Tap water is more economical than bottled water.
    At about a penny per gallon, tap water is much less expensive than bottled water. Depending on the size and brand, bottled water can cost up to 1,000 times more than tap water. If you fill up a reusable bottle at any of our TapIt Metro D.C. partners, it is completely FREE!
  • Tap water tastes great.

    According to our annual taste tests, many DC Water customers prefer the taste of tap water to bottled water.

    DC Water's Annual Taste Test Challenge

    Each summer, DC Water hosts the Taste Test Challenge series in each Ward of the District. Volunteer participants taste two water samples and decide which sample tastes better. In 2013, 63 percent of participants preferred the taste of tap water or could not tell the difference between the tap and bottled water samples. To participate in our Taste Test Challenge series, visit our public events calendar (bottom of homepage) for dates and locations .

    MyFox DC News Coverage of 2013 taste test during National Drinking Water Week.

TapIt Metro D.C.

DC Water, regional water utilities and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments are partnering with businesses in the metro region to make it easier to choose tap water. TapIt Metro D.C. is a network of businesses (restaurants, cafes, retail stores, museums, etc.) that will refill any reusable container with tap water at no charge, no purchase necessary. Free smartphone applications make it easy to find the nearest TapIt Metro D.C. location, and a map of participating businesses can be viewed at www.tapitwater.com/dc.

We are always looking for new TapIt partners, so tell your favorite cafe or shop to join for free! For more information about the TapIt Metro D.C. partnership, please visit www.freetapwater.org. TapIt Metro D.C. offers consumers a healthy and no-cost alternative to bottled water and sugary beverages; reduces plastic bottle waste; and increases visibility and foot traffic for businesses that are demonstrating their commitment to making DC a more sustainable city.

Watch this YouTube video to learn more about the TapIt Metro D.C. network.

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DC Water Leads by Example

Put down the plastic and turn on the tap! In 2011, DC Water offered to help Congress reduce spending and plastic bottle waste. General Manager George Hawkins sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner about congressional spending on bottled water. Read the letter.
DC Water Tap Water Pledge In 2010, bottled water was removed from all vending machines in DC Water facilities in the District. DC Water staff is provided free reusable water bottles and encouraged to sign the Tap Water Pledge not to drink bottled water at work. To date, nearly 800 employees and contractors have signed the pledge.

Spreading the Word DC Water is sharing the message about bottled water with people throughout the District. You will see DC Water vehicles with decals encouraging the public to think outside the bottle.

Additional Resources:

TapIt Metro D.C. Public Service Announcement

DC Water explains the benefits of TapIt Metro D.C.

10 Reasons to Drink Tap

DC Tap Water vs. Bottled Water

Story of Bottled Water

National TapIt Campaign

Think Outside the Bottle Campaign - Corporate Accountability International

Tap Water Promotion and Sustainability at American University

Tapped Documentary

What We Do