Cincinnati Water Works to begin research on profitability of bottling city water

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Greater Cincinnati Water Works will soon begin its research on the profitability of bottling city tap water.

Cincinnatians will be paying higher water rates next year, and Councilman Wendell Young says bottling and selling that same water from Greater Cincinnati Water Works department might lessen those rates.

City council approved a water increase last month that will start in 6 months. The original proposal was to raise the rate by 7.5 percent but council voted that down. A week later, they compromised with a 4 percent increase.

Councilman Young then proposed that Cincinnati study the possible profit of bottling water and selling it that way. His idea passed council unanimously.

Today the Water Works Department will be paying for and developing that study, using an outside independent firm to develop the idea with pros and cons.

The city of Hamilton is already bottling their tap water, called 'Hamilton on Tap.' The city started selling water this way after they received the distinction of the best tap water in the world at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Competition.

However, John Bui, Director of Underground Utilities for the city of Hamilton says they aren't making any money off of selling it that way. In order to make a profit, he say they would have to put in more capital investments and a larger facility.

But other cities have found a way to make a profit. A study by Food and Water Watch found a huge spike starting in 2005 of municipalities selling their excess water supply to major bottling companies who put it through a filtration process, bottle it and sell it back to consumers.

As for Cincinnati making their own labeled water, Bui says it is possible but the capital investment won't be cheap.

"It may or may not make sense after you get in depth with your research," said Bui.

Related content:

Could Cincinnati sell bottled tap water?

Copyright 2014 WXIX. All rights reserved.