Saratoga Springs Mineral Baths Diluted With Tap Water For Last 20 Years

Saratoga Springs State Park, a longtime destination for people looking for a soak in the naturally-carbonated mineral waters that gave the town its name, has been secretly mixing regular municipal tap water into the baths. For twenty years.

The resort is operated for the state of New York by Colorado-based Xanterra Parks & Resorts, which decided to blend in the tap water after a hot water heater broke down. Twenty years ago.

The issue came to light when Eliot Spitzer, the new governor of New York, appointed new leadership at the parks deparment. Now Xanterra suddenly finds religion. “The public has a right to know the contents of the baths,” a spokeswoman said.

Just be sure they don’t start mixing in Aquafina — that’s just tap water, too. MARK ASHLEY

Officials confirm N.Y. mineral water spa diluted [USA Today]
(Photo: sqeulachdan)

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  1. Scott says:

    As one who lives next to Saratoga Springs, I can tell you that this is no secret, nor is it as nefarious as the NY press wished to make it. But don’t take my word for it – go to the Saratoga Spa State Park’s site & read it yourself: http://www.saratogaspastatepark.org/buildinghistory_bathho

    “At the bathhouses, the mineral water is combined with hot tap water to bring the water temperature to ninety-seven degrees Fahrenheit. This keeps the carbonation at its peak.”

    Now take a look at the same page, 4 years ago:
    http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.saratogaspastatepa

    No secret, no cover-up…

  2. velocipenguin says:

    14,000 visitors/year * 20 dollars/visitor * 20 years = defrauding the public to the tune of $5.6 million.

    I hate this state.

  3. mopar_man says:

    Mmmm…Aquafina. Straight from the Deeeetroit River.

  4. jendomme says:

    Does this really surprise anyone? It is in New York, the land of douche bags. Enough said.

  5. FLConsumer says:

    At least NY consumers are getting some sort of experience for their money at the spa, even if it is fake. Compare this to the state income tax and high sales taxes…which, don’t seem to be doing anything different than states which lack these (Oregon has no sales tax, FL has no income tax).

  6. homerjay says:

    I have a friend who will only drink Dasani. Or as I call it- Unflavored Coke.

    He doesn’t like it when I do that.

  7. royal72 says:

    time to bottle that stuff and sell it as “saratoga springs mineral water. the all natural dietary supplement*”.

    *results not typical. use in conjunction with regular diet and exercise program.

  8. dufus says:

    Oh, cut it out…. You’re sitting in carbonated water and you’re upset that it might contain some other water??? Water that’s clean enough to drink???????

    It’s freakin’ water! The water underground with all that carbonation started out at the surface… So they mixed it a bit with water that hasn’t made its way down there yet… big deal!

    It’s not like this is some sort of essential drug that’s been rendered usless by some faceless corporation.

    Geez…. get a grip you people.

  9. Mr_Human says:

    @jendomme: And we plan on keeping it that way, sucka.

  10. Craig says:

    New York tap water is probably healthier than the natural spring water:

    http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Health/story?id=728070&page=1

  11. I actually like Dasani.

  12. Craig says:

    Not to mention the fact that hot tap water is the last thing I’d be worried about mixing with the water in public baths.

  13. synergy says:

    I think I remember Dasani contains some sort of salt. MgCl, maybe? Anyway, I thought it a bad idea considering, for me anyway, I get thirstier when I eat something salty than if I just drank pure water.

  14. kerry says:

    @mopar_man: er, not exactly. It gets purified a lot before it gets bottled (also, the source water is different for each bottling company). Dasani and Aquafina aren’t just tap water, nor are they natural mineral water. They’re distilled, purified water. I just happen to have a distilled water tap where I work, so I don’t need to buy purified water, but I do prefer the taste of “clean” water over “natural” water.
    I like the “unflavored Coke” description, but shouldn’t it be “unflavored, flat Coke”?

  15. Mr_Human says:

    @kerry: Is Dasani actually distilled or just filtered? At any rate, I know that they do reintroduce some minerals, because super pure water just doesn’t taste so nice to a lot of people.

  16. mklssr says:

    As a employee of the the State of New York this is no surprise to me. Just wait till it gets out what has been going on at the Division of Parole and the Department of Corrections.

  17. kerry says:

    @Mr_Human: You’re probably right, I haven’t done any hard-core label reading or fact-checking. It tastes a lot like the distilled water that comes out of the tap at work, but it’s probably just run through a filter. All I know is it doesn’t taste like Evian, and that’s reason enough for me to drink it. ;)

  18. Techguy1138 says:

    Having actually tasted the Saratoga spring water I’m more than a little glad that it was mixed with regular tap water.

    It is known for it’s medicinal value. Meaning certain spring can taste awful. Maybe saoking in it will releave pains but, suplher is not a delighftul taste.

    All in all I don’t feel ripped off. The water wasn’t ‘recycled’ for drinking and it was still at real spring water.

    It will be nice if the quality of the springs improve but I won’t be there to enjoy it.

  19. mopar_man says:

    @kerry:

    Actually, that’s exactly where it comes from. It’s one of Aquafina’s sources anyway. And yes it’s filtered but still….THE DETROIT RIVER!

  20. Scott says:

    It’s funny… Even when confronted with the truth, everyone prefers to believe the more interesting, fake story. Never mind – carry on, sheeple.

  21. Buran says:

    I was looking at the NY State AG page today to consider filing a complaint against a business based in NY (I’m in MO but they aren’t, so I figured it best to look at the NY state AG page) and it looks like they have gotten rid of Spitzer, the super-AG who actually would do something about customer abuse. Now they have someone I’ve never heard of.

    Figures. The same day I read about this …

  22. ErikinPA says:

    @Buran:

    Yeah, NY got “rid” of its hard-ass AGen by voting him into the position of Governor. The guy still gets a woody from prosecuting Tom Dick and Harry.
    (multiple puns not intentional)

  23. Xanterra has been screwing up the parks exprience all over the country. Their operation at Death Valley National Park charges super-high prices for terrible food and service.

    Delaware North Companies in Yosemite is famous for the same mix of premium pricing, bad service, and the propensity to abuse it’s exclusive position as the park’s concessionaire.

  24. GeekChicCanuck says:

    Actually… Dasani is filtered Calgary tap water. There was some discussion back there about whether to charge Coke a premium for using so much water – but the city decided not to ding them more than anyone else using the water (like a mill or a cement plant).

    Kinda funny that bottled waters are just someone else’s tap water.

  25. FunkyJ says:

    I think anyone paying money to soak in “natural spring water” deserves to be ripped off…

  26. alhypo says:

    @Mr_Human: I was a lab tech in a beverage manufacturing facility for about five years. There are any number of processes Coke and Pepsi use to purify their water but reverse osmosis is probably at the core of their operation. The product you get from R.O. machines is similar in purity to that of distillation, however, the water is not heated anywhere near boiling, so it retains some oxygen resulting is an better taste (questionable, of course, but I would agree). R.O. is pretty much the preferred method for purification as it can actually ‘filter’ dissolved solids (salts) out of the water.

    Of course, once all the minerals are stripped from the water selected purified minerals are mixed back in to balance the taste. I can’t stand pure water myself. It makes me lethargic as my body tries to reestablish electrolytic balance, but I don’t put salt on my food either, so for the typical person it shouldn’t pose any problems. Just remember your body needs to get those minerals somewhere. Most natural spring water (which I presume we are best adapted to consume) has much higher dissolved solid contents than the water Coke or Pepsi produce.

    Anyway, my point is, regardless of the incoming water quality there is an R.O. system that can purify it. So while it is technically the same water that came out of the Detroit River or the tap, it in no way resembles its previous condition. Technically it is the same water that ocean fish crapped in or that a dinosaur might have excreted millions of years ago, but after it is evaporated from the ocean we consider it to be ‘refreshed’. R.O. and distillation accomplish the same thing. Even so, I think consuming bottled water is mindlessly squandering our limited resources (not the water, but the plastic). I drink tap water unless I’m on the road or something. If you’re concerned about the chlorine you can get those little carbon filters (the same process water bottlers use to remove chlorine).