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An interesting opportunity presented itself at yesterday’s outing to the Long Island Fall Festival at Hecksher Park, Huntington. The Central Presbyterian Church of Huntington Village handed out sealed half-pint bottles of Poland Spring water with a packet of religious material hung off the neck. A rather savvy inducement to engage, I thought, when other vendors were selling drinks at a profitable premium.

A lable stuck on the back of the bottle, by the church, goes on to explain that ‘Jesus said “If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” John 7:37′. Way to go Presbyterians, that’s simply clever marketing!

At a nearby Home Depot display I was handed a free water test kit, so here I’m presented with the opportunity of putting the Poland Spring water to a free test.

Following instructions, the next morning, I break the seal on my bottle of Poland Spring, rinse out the test container and it’s screw-on cap and then fill it up, fasten the cap on tight and post it back together with questionnaire in the reply paid envelope provided. I answered all the questions fully, correctly and honestly, there is no requirement that the water sample be limited to any particular source, like my local stream, my home tap water — nor even from bottled water — so I’m comfortable that I’m neither abusing my gift of water nor the free testing of it.

When the test comes back I’ll see where this story goes. Who is the test lab (CWS Testing Dept., 30 East Mall, Plainview, NY 11803-9826), what are they testing for, and what is their motivation in asking me to test a sample of water?

FOLLOW UP: Early the next week I missed a call on my phone, the one I quoted in the mailing. They left no message and didn’t call back. I Googled the number (516) 694-7873 and came up with Clean Water Service, Inc of Long Island — which is probably the same CWS I sent my test sample to.

FINAL UPDATE: I finally took a call from a CWS agent who, when pressed for specific results, said my sample was too small for a comprehensive analysis but that it contained lots of chlorine and heavy metals. They wanted to come to my home to do a full analysis of my water (i.e. get their foot in the door for a sales pitch). It was an obvious untruth. Like hooking a guppy on a 50lb fishing line, there was no sport it, so I let it go.

 

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