Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada


Drinking Water

Bottled Water and Water Coolers


Bottled water is safer to drink than tap water.


Bottled water has generally been found to be of good quality, although most tap water is equally as safe. Both bottled water and tap water are regularly tested to ensure that they meet acceptable standards, and should not pose a health hazard.

Who regulates bottled water?

Since bottled water is considered a food product, it is regulated under the federal Food and Drugs Act by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Bottled water companies must adhere to quality standards, good manufacturing practices, and labeling requirements. Along with the CFIA, two provincial government agencies have regulatory involvement in the extraction, processing, and/or packaging of water:

  • Nova Scotia Environment issues water licenses to extract ground water; and
  • the Nova Scotia Department of Agriculture and Marketing administers applicable food handling regulations, and may inspect premises and test water for bacterial content.

Do the new public drinking water supply monitoring regulations affect bottled water companies?

No, these regulations do not apply to bottled water companies.

How do I know my bottled water is safe?

In addition to requirements under federal and provincial regulations, many bottled water producers belong to the Canadian Bottled Water Association (CBWA) which involves further testing and adherence to the CBWA Model Code. To find out if the bottled water product is produced by the a CBWA member, contact the association at (905)886-6928.

Why is ozone used in bottled water?

Ozone is used as a disinfectant because it leaves no chlorine aftertaste.

Are water coolers safe to use?

Water coolers are commonly used in the home, office, or in other places. Generally, the water from these coolers is considered safe to drink. Proper use of the cooler will prevent bacteria contamination, so keep these pointers in mind when using a cooler. Never touch the spout with your cup or hands. The water should pour directly into your cup. By avoiding contact with the spout, you prevent the spread of bacteria from one cooler user to the next. Also, keep in mind that care should be taken when replacing the water container in a cooler. Make sure that all contact surfaces are clean. One last note, make sure that your cooler is regularly cleaned.

For more information call the Nova Scotia Environment office nearest you.