Spring is here and spring water is thereabouts.
There are not too many English words for water. We know the Latin word aqua as a noun and the Greek word hydro as a prefix.
There are various types of water. Well water, bottled water, distilled, polluted and spring water to name a few. Clear, sparkling spring water conjures up an image of the gurgling bubbly source where it originates.
Water is a basic necessity, needed to maintain a healthy body. We know about the effects of dehydration. About sixty per cent of your body is water, and you must constantly replenish the supply; no one seems to know what our intake should be.
A purported daily standard was those eight, 8-ounce glasses; it always seemed like a lot. Some of us don’t like water from a tap; others have stopped purchasing bottled water, shunning plastic.
Water quality and available sources globally have become health-human needs topics. Water from a natural spring is considered to contain a beneficial level of minerals. Springs seemingly and conveniently are located along the side of a back road.
A “spring” is any natural situation where water flows to the surface of the earth from underground. A spring is a site where the aquifer surface meets the ground surface.
At a local spring, you will see various types and lengths of pipes, piles of rocks - often a round concrete tile covering the source. Sometimes there is some sort of protective covering with a lid.
The quality of the water is important to the local patron. Part of the attraction of spring water is that it has moved from a protective, underground source, supposedly free of contaminants and is naturally filtered.
Or is it?
We checked with three sources of information to create a primer for your “spring” water pursuits.
Brendon Marsden is a public health Inspector with the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit he says springs are not protected.
“Spring water is no different than any other groundwater, except that in the case of spring the pressure in the aquifer has forced it through the aquifer’s confining layer and out onto the ground.
"Persons considering taking water from springs should be aware that there are health risks. There may be pathogens in the spring water that can make people sick – bacteria (like E. coli), viruses (like adenovirus) or protozoans (like Giardia).
"The possibility of chemical contamination of the groundwater also exists, though, is generally less likely in most areas.
"Some springs are posted (ie ‘Do Not Drink’) and some are tested. There are people who will collect samples of the spring water they consume and have the samples analyzed for various parameters. Unless the ‘spring’ water is treated and monitored, my recommendation is that the water from springs not be consumed."
“There does seem to be a fascination with ‘spring’ water. Though water bubbling up through the earth is not at all uncommon, ‘spring’ water is often conferred with magical qualities," Marsden said. He referenced Dodee Schmidt’s blog.
“I am water wizard of sorts,” said Schmidt.
She lives in the Trinity Mountains along the upper Sacramento River near Mt. Shasta, California.
“I have been into holistic and wellbeing for the last 15 years. So much so that I moved to a place like this where my place gets 400-year-old cave-filtered spring water into the pipes and I can go to the headwaters of Mt. Shasta any time I'd like and bask in the healing energy or fill up from the cold, clear mountain water.
"There is something indeed magical about spring water.
"It is God's water bubbling from within the earth. It is encoded with life-giving wild energy. Unlike tap water that has frequencies of chemicals, herbicides, plastics and electrical grid frequencies.
"I prefer very low tds (total dissolved solids) spring water as to not build up minerals that can cause the body to calcify.
"You see health food stores offering mineral waters but taste them first. Are they really thick on the palate? What is the TDS? These things are important to note. I use a tds meter to check you don't want to drink too much of a highly mineralized water.
"I also have water devices that take my spring water down to 0 tds then I sometimes add back in my own selected minerals.
“Water is our life-blood.
"I give so much gratitude to clean waters. It brings me great joy to align with how we were intended to live, it is a sort of supernatural way, as much as possible. It gives me great peace too and a sense of freedom.”
Brenda McLay is owner, Director of Near North Laboratories providing environmental and analytical services in central and northeastern Ontario for 31 years. The company specializes in drinking water and wastewater analyses.
Here, is a mini, land-based chemistry lesson from McLay.
“The quality and chemistry of water from private water systems is a reflection of its surrounding geology, environment, and land use whether the water comes from the surface or from deep in the ground.
"The hard granite bedrock of the Canadian Shield is not a solid block of rock. It has cracks and crevices throughout allowing water to trickle down and move through the fissures and seams in the rock.
"There are pockets of limestone here and there, and evidence of old sea beds; however, northeastern Ontario geology does not have the makeup that many are familiar with in southern Ontario.
“Water is constantly trying to balance itself in the sense of dissolving minerals that are positively and negatively charged.
"Water that has been in the ground for a long time tends to be mineral-rich. Some of these minerals found in the water have recommended maximum limits as listed by the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation & Parks (MECP).
"These limits depend on whether the minerals are health related or nuisance related."
See the Ontario government website for more information.
From the National Assembly of First Nations, a passage honouring water:
…Water is the most life-sustaining gift on Mother Earth and is the interconnection among all living beings.
Water sustains us, flows between us, within us, and replenishes us.
Water is the blood of Mother Earth and, as such, cleanses not only herself but all living things.
Water comes in many forms and all are needed for the health of Mother Earth and for our health…
There are many more springs than identified on this map.
As it is a public map, your spring locate will be added among the others and it will be continually refreshed. Include a photo and directions.
Are you still not sure about those eight, 8-ounce glasses? Do try to drink as much as you can, and more than you think you need; especially when you are out expending all of that energy on the back roads looking for springs.