News Feature | November 21, 2013

New National System Rates Drinking Water, Ranks Top Metropolitan Areas

By Sara Jerome


A startup in Massachusetts thinks it has found a lucrative business model in judging the quality of drinking water. 

"Purdex, an independent, drinking water certification company that provides empirical information about the quality and safety of drinking water, recently launched Purdex Score, the first and only national system that rates the health and safety of drinking water," the Patriot Ledger reported. Consumers are often at a loss when it comes to understanding the quality of their tap water, and Purdex aims to alleviate some of that confusion.

"Most people judge drinking water by its taste but good taste doesn’t always correlate with water purity. There’s no guarantee that good tasting water meets water quality standards. The Purdex Score is an objective rating system that evaluates water quality based on federal drinking water regulations," company co-founder Michael Keegan said in an interview with the Ledger

The company scores all types of drinking water, not just tap. It is a "free, unbiased online rating system for thousands of public water systems in the United States, major bottled water brands and filtration systems," the report said. 

Purdex scored the drinking water in the top 10 metropolitan areas (by population). Results from 600 to 799 are considered good, from 800 through 899 very good, and from 900 to 1,000 exceptional. According to the report, Chicago (783), Boston (737), Philadelphia (687), Atlanta (684), and Miami (656) scored the highest, while Los Angeles (101), Houston (236), Washington, D.C. (436), Dallas (619), and New York City (638) scored the lowest.

The Purdex scoring algorithm uses the data that the EPA uses to check for compliance with water quality standards. Check out EPA water quality standards here. Water quality is not always compared across different districts, according to the report, because ranking it would be complicated and problematic. 

The company was founded by water industry veterans, a set of twins, Thomas and Michael Keegan. They are "experts with a combined 30 years of experience helping public water systems manage compliance and reporting of test data in annual water quality reports," the report said. 

"Consumers around the country now can make more informed decisions about the water they drink, whether it's from the tap or bottle. We also help them understand which filtration system might work best, based on their own water's contaminant profile," Thomas Keegan said. 

It is not the first time an organization has taken a crack at ranking drinking water. For instance, in one report, the National Resources Defense Council graded drinking water by choosing "public water systems in 19 cities around the nation and assigned each system a water quality and compliance grade."

What taste do customers prefer: tap or bottled? Find out on Water Online.

Image credit: "A glass of water," © 2010 gromgull, used under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license:

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