Seattle Chief Bans Bottled Water from City Budget

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels signed an executive order ending the purchase of bottled water for city buildings and events, citing Seattle's high-quality municipal water supply and the significant environmental costs of throw-away plastic bottles.

The order, which applies only to city departments, is the first step in an effort to promote Seattle's water and get people to consider kicking the bottle habit.

"This is a matter of leading by example," Nickels said. "The people of Seattle own one of the best water supplies in the country, every bit as good as bottled water and available at a fraction of the price. When you add up the tremendous environmental costs of disposable plastic bottles clogging our landfills, the better choice is crystal clear."

Last year, the city spent about $58,000 for bottled water at city facilities and events. The mayor's order would phase out city purchases of bottled water by the end of the year, while encouraging employees to switch to municipal water. It would not ban the private purchase of bottled water by city employees.

Regular testing has consistently shown that Seattle's water boasts some of the lowest levels of contaminants of any major city in North America, easily besting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Seattle's water mostly comes from rain and snowpack in the Cedar River and Tolt River watersheds, in the Cascade Mountains. These pristine areas are access-controlled; they have no industry and no residences, resulting in a source of exceptionally clean water.

Exceptions to the city's new ban on bottled water may be made in cases when there are no reasonable alternatives to access safe drinking water and when there are hydration requirements for employees working outside of city facilities.

Seattle Public Utilities, a department of city government, provides a reliable supply of high-quality water to more than 1.3 million customers in the Seattle metropolitan area.

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