More bottled waters claim springs as their origin than any other type of source. Spring waters vary widely in their mineral composition and TDS level, both of which are influenced by the geology of the local area.
Some springs naturally carbonate the water. The best tasting spring water comes from a protected, free-flowing spring and is treated as little as possible during the bottling process.
The actual definition of spring water is controversial. Geologists characterize it as water flowing through the surface of the earth with no help from machines. But water from a borehole (a well) drilled next to the spring can also be considered spring waterby the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, at leastif a hydraulic link between the spring and the borehole can be shown, the water from both the borehole and the spring are chemically identical, the borehole does not prevent the spring’s natural flow, and the borehole does not open the aquifer to surface water. Using a spring’s natural orifice, however, is preferable.
Using a spring’s natural orifice, however, is preferable. When the water’s own pressure brings it to the surface, that pressure can prevent contaminants in ground and surface water from mixing with the spring water. Boreholes may endanger a spring’s life, too, as the volume of water extracted by a borehole is higher than the spring’s natural capacity.
Unlike mineral water, which is tightly defined by law, spring water has no legal definition and manufacturers may -- and do -- use water from sources other than natural springs.
When the water’s own pressure brings it to the surface, that pressure can prevent contaminants in ground and surface water from mixing with the spring water. Boreholes may endanger a spring’s life, too, as the volume of water extracted by a borehole is higher than the spring’s natural capacity. Spring Water is water that is collected from a source underground. It is collected from a bored hold that taps the source of the spring. Although it usually requires minimal treatment before it is bottled, it must retain the same physical properties and composition as the natural spring water from which it originates. A spring is a point where groundwater flows out of the ground, and is thus where the aquifer surface meets the ground surface.
Dependent upon the constancy of the water source (rainfall or snow melt that infiltrates the earth), a spring may be ephemeral intermittent) or perennial (continuous). Water issuing from an artesian spring rises to a higher elevation than the top of the confined aquifer from which it issues. When water issues from the ground it may form into a pool or flow downhill, in surface streams. Sometimes a spring is termed a seep.
A stream carrying the outflow of a spring to a nearby primary stream is called a spring branch or run. The cool water of a spring and its branch may harbor species such as certain trout that are otherwise ill-suited for a warmer local climate.
Water emanating from karst topography is another type of spring, often called a resurgence as much of the water may come from one or more sinkholes at a higher altitude. Karst springs generally are not subjected to as great a degree of ground filtering as spring water which may have continuously passed through soils or a porous aquifer. Spring Water Classification
Springs are often classified by the volume of the water they discharge. The largest springs are called "first-magnitude," defined as springs that discharge water at a rate of at least 2800 L/s. The scale for spring flow is as follows:
Magnitude Flow (ft³/s, gal/min, pint/min) Flow (L/s) 1st Magnitude > 100 ft³/s 2800 L/s 2nd Magnitude 10 to 100 ft³/s 280 to 2800 L/s 3rd Magnitude 1 to 10 ft³/s 28 to 280 L/s 4th Magnitude 100 US gal/min to 1 ft³/s (448 US gal/min) 6.3 to 28 L/s 5th Magnitude 10 to 100 gal/min 0.63 to 6.3 L/s 6th Magnitude 1 to 10 gal/min 63 to 630 mL/s 7th Magnitude 1 pint to 1 gal/min 8 to 63 mL/s 8th Magnitude Less than 1 pint/min 8 mL/s 0 Magnitude no flow (sites of past/historic flow)