person drinking bottled waterBottled Water

An increasing number of Nebraskans are using bottled water as their primary source of drinking water. When choosing between bottled or tap water, consider that each has advantages and disadvantages. Allowable maximum levels (MCL's) for potentially harmful contaminants are enforced for all:

  • Public water supplies
  • Imported bottled water
  • Domestic bottled water sold through interstate commerce

Individual states may or may not enforce MCL's for bottled water that is sold only in the state in which it is bottled. Nebraska does enforce these maximum allowable levels.

If in full compliance with regulations, ALL public tap water and bottled water sold in Nebraska will be safe for cooking and drinking.

However, private water supplies in Nebraska are not subject to federal or state regulations, with some exceptions, such as licensed childcare homes and foster care homes.  Local county or city jurisdictions may regulate private water supplies.  Private well water can be tested for quality.


Questions have been raised about the safety of reusable plastic water bottles. These durable and lightweight (often colorful) bottles filled with potable tap water offer a substitute for disposable bottled water. Their use has been marketed and promoted as being the more environmentally sustainable option. But concerns have been raised about the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) used to make some plastic bottles, and what, if any health risk might result if BPA leaches into the water.

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Additional Resources

UNL Extension Publications

Drinking Water: Bottled or Tap?* Provides in depth discussion of the regulation and safety of drinking water from various sources, both public and private.

An Introduction to Drinking Water* Reference on drinking water protection, quality and treatment including both public and private drinking water.

*Documents are in PDF format. Download the current version of Adobe Reader