Blue Tap with water dropWater, water, everywhere at the Denver Zoo, but not a drop fit for both elephants to drink and trees to absorb.

The elephants were happy and healthy enough slurping up recycled water that was also used for irrigation, and it was deemed safe and environmentally friendly by an EPA despot.

But for some unknown reason, the evergreen trees in the park weren’t perky enough to meet USDA standards, so that federal agency insisted that the zoo abandon the EPA-deemed safe recycled water and instead use potable water.

Zoo officials said the veterinary staff deemed recycled water to be a safe source for drinking and still believe that is the case. However, they decided to review the issue after news that recycled water could be to blame for evergreen trees wilting in some of the city’s parks.

“We strongly believe that the recycled water is safe for animals due to the facts that it met Environmental Protection Agency Clean Water Act standards for human consumption in the 1980s and the results from the continued monitoring of health and necropsy records show no indication of health concerns relating to water consumption of the exhibit’s animals,” Denver Zoo spokeswoman Tiffany Grunert said in an e-mail.

It matters not that there were no facts to back up the USDA’s demand that the water was the culprit, so the zoo just spent $20,000 to convert from recycled to potable water.

So, why the switch?

Grunert says “it was much easier to add potable water to the area than to try and change a federal agency’s definition.”

Will the EPA fight back and demand that their federal drinking water standards are better than the USDA’s federal tree watering standards?

Stay tuned.