COLUMBIA — John O’Connor finds bottled water silly. And on Oct. 3, at the Missouri Water and Wastewater Conference in Columbia, he’ll present the slides and research he thinks proves it. His presentation, “The Story of Bottled Water,” will follow his son’s “History of Wastewater Treatment.”
John O’Connor and his son Tom O’Connor are both environmental engineers at H2O’C, an engineering firm in Columbia that specializes in municipal and wastewater treatment.
John O’Connor’s presentation will depict bottled water as an industry fueled by marketing. He thinks that bottled water is something that consumers could just get by turning on a faucet.
There are more than 400 types of bottled water sold by Coca-Cola alone, and what you purchase is often from the same source as your tap water, O’Connor said. In early August, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Aquafina water sold in Missouri is from the Missouri River. This doesn’t surprise O’Connor. He estimates that half of all water consumed in Missouri comes from that river.
“A lot of the water that is sold as bottled water is actually municipal water that they basically repackaged,” said O’Connor.