For some people the idea of a ‘tap water taste test’ makes no sense — because THEIR tap water tastes like chlorine (test for chlorine), smells like rotten eggs (test for hydrogen sulfide), has a metallic taste to it (test for heavy metals), and/or leaves deposits on fixtures (test for water hardness).
For the folks in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, though, this year the idea of a tap water taste test means honors and accolades because a panel of judges appointed by the American Water Works Association (AWWA.org) deemed their water the best tasting water (from a public water system) in North America.
(CHICAGO) – The American Water Works Association (AWWA) today announced that Wisconsin’s Stevens Point Water Department won the annual “Best of the Best” Water Taste Test. The event, composed of regional winners from water-tasting competitions across North America, was held at AWWA’s Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE10) in Chicago.
Stevens Point Water Department, now known throughout North America for its tasty water, has reliably provided Stevens Point residents with groundwater since 1922.
Second place in the competition was awarded to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection while Lincoln Water System of Nebraska and Silverdale Water District of Washington tied for third place. ( source )
So… if an area has the best tasting tap water, does that mean ever person on that water system has great water? Absolutely not!
The water used in competitions like the one above came straight from the water treatment facility… and did NOT travel through miles of water lines and the plumbing in a person’s house — and in those miles or in that plumbing any number of contaminants could enter the water.
As a general rule, most incidents of municipal tap water contamination occur because of a ‘failure’ between the water treatment facility and the faucet.
- Older water lines used metals now known to cause health issues so if your city has really old water mains, well, you do the math — and by do the math we mean wonder if your city still has lead in the walls of its service lines.
- Older homes used copper plumbing… which required solder that contained lead.
- Tree roots can have a tendency to ‘grab hold’ of buried piping and eventually some roots grow strong enough to create hairline fractures in water lines through which bacteria can enter the water supply. Tree roots can also weasel their way into water lines, thus introducing unwanted bacteria.
So whether you live in a town with the best water SUPPLY in the country or an area whose water didn’t make the final cut for this year’s competition, the end responsibility for making sure the water coming from your faucet contains no dangerous contaminants rests squarely on YOUR shoulders.
Granted if you find a problem and can show negligence on the part of the city, town, state, or some business the law will require that party to correct the problem, but rest assured they will not drop by your house periodically to test your water for potential problems.
You will have to do that.