m Bottled Water Frequently-Asked Questions

Bottled Water Frequently-Asked Questions

Q. What is the definition of bottled water?

A. "Bottled water shall mean any product, including natural spring or well water taken from municipal or private utility systems or other water, distilled water, deionized water or any of the foregoing to which chemicals may be added, which are put into sealed bottles, packages or other containers, to be sold for domestic consumption or culinary use, involving a likelihood of such water being ingested by human beings."

Q. Is bottled water regulated in New York State?

A. Yes, under the New York State Department of Health Sanitary Code Chapter 1 Subpart 5-6: Bottled and Bulk Water Standards as well as by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

Q. How do I know if the bottle of water I am drinking is approved by New York State?

A. Each approved bottler is given an assigned certification number. The New York State certification number must be displayed on the label and will read as such:

  • In-Country Bottlers - NYSHD Cert. #000
  • Out-of-Country Bottlers - NYSHD Cert. #I-000

Q. What type of information is required on labels of bottled water sold in New York State?

A. The following information is required:

  • the type of Source Water;
  • the address and location of the bottling facility or corporate offices;
  • the net contents and/or capacity of the container; and
  • the assigned New York State Certification number - NYSHD Cert. #000.

Q. What do bottled water companies need to do to become certified to sell water in New York State?

A. They need to submit to the Department of Health:

  • a completed application/questionnaire for Certification of Approval for Distribution of Bottled or Bulk Water;
  • a statement from their regulatory authority that they have been approved to bottle or package water for human consumption;
  • an engineering report, plans, and specifications for the facility prepared by a registered Professional Engineer;
  • two caps and two labels for each container size that is to be certified;
  • a complete water quality analyses, including inorganic, organic, microbiological, and radiological analyses for each source and each finished product to be distributed within New York State;
  • a list of names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all those distributing the products within New York State; and
  • a recall plan.

Q. How long is the certification good for?

A. 1 year

Q. What do bottled water companies need to do to renew their certification to sell water in New York State?

A. They need to submit to the Department of Health:

  • a satisfactory inspection from the appropriate regulatory or other agency such as NSF;
  • complete water quality analyses, including inorganic, organic, microbiological, and radiological analyses for each source and each finished product to be distributed within New York State;
  • a completed re-certification Questionnaire;
  • a Monthly Operation Report (DOH-357) must be submitted each month with the results of microbiological testing for that month listed, along with production information;
  • microbiological results for the monthly tests must be sent to the Department of Health from the laboratory doing the testing; and
  • information on any interruption or change in the operation.

Q. Are the laboratories used by bottled water companies held to any standards?

A. Yes, they must be certified by the Department of Health's Environmental Laboratory Approval Program (ELAP).

Q. What is the penalty for violating this code?

A. "Violations of this Subpart may subject the owner or operator of the bottled or bulk water facility to civil penalties of up to $2,000 per violation, revocation of their certificate of approval to distribute bottled or bulk water within New York State and/or a recall of all product on the market in New York State."

Q. What happens if water quality standards (Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL's)) are exceeded?

A. The Department of Health must be notified within 24 hours of learning of the potential exceedance. Three more samples must be taken and analyzed from the same production run, when feasible, no later than 24 hours of learning of the exceedance. The average of these 4 tests is used to determine if the MCL was exceeded.

Q. Are there regulations on how the facility and bottles are sanitized?

A. Yes, the proper construction and sanitation of the facility, production equipment, and packaging equipment are all outlined in Subpart 5-6.