City well-versed in bottling water Trend: Other municipalities are a decade behind Baltimore in selling their water.

August 07, 1997|By Linell Smith | Linell Smith,SUN STAFF

Holy waters! Word has it that the cities of Houston, Kansas City and North Miami Beach may start bottling their own tap water, putting its supposed superior taste up against those fancy designer brands.

It's about time.

Baltimoreans have been able to buy their own tap water for more than a decade already under the label of Super G -- Giant Food's private label.

Way back in 1986, the folks at Giant realized that Charm City's tasty tap water had great market potential. Now, Giant produces roughly 12,000 gallons of drinking and distilled water a week from Baltimore's municipal water system.

You can buy a gallon of Super G drinking water for 83 cents in any of 176 Giant Food stores from Charlottesville to the Philadelphia suburbs.

"A lot of the water being bought in today's marketplace is spring water, but drinking water is something people are using not just for drinking but for making coffee and tea and other drinks," says Rod Blankenship, manager of the Giant Food beverage manufacturing plant. "People in general are concerned about their water source."

Yes, Super G drinking water is the same drinking water you get from the tap. But it comes with a few more refinements.

When the water arrives at Giant's beverage manufacturing plant in Jessup, it has already gone through the usual municipal filtration process.

Giant's additional processing uses a membrane purification filter and a charcoal filter to remove any residual chlorine. Then the water is passed through ultraviolet light and receives a sterilizing injection of ozone.

Are we thirsty yet?

Although Baltimore's water is undeniably tasty, it faces stiff competition much closer than Houston.

Three years ago, Rockville's water was declared best of 11 public water systems in Maryland in a taste competition sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Judges decided that the Montgomery County entry was closest to the EPA's definition of flawless: Colorless, transparent and odorless. Neither sweet nor sour. Not salty or bitter.

You might say it tasted a lot like water.

Pub Date: 8/07/97

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