Big Sky, Mont. wins “Best of the Best” Tap Water Taste Test

Water Provider Secures Top Honor at American Water Works Association’s Annual Conference and Exposition

ANAHEIM -- The American Water Works Association announced today that the Big Sky County Water & Sewer District, Big Sky, Mont., has won the eleventh annual “Best of the Best” Tap Water Taste Test. Second place in the competition was given to Universal City, Texas. The event, composed of regional winners from water-tasting competitions across North America, was held at AWWA’s Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE15) in Anaheim, Calif.

The Big Sky County Water & Sewer District is a special purpose unit of government organized to regulate and operate the public water and sewer systems of Big Sky, Mont. Their source water is untreated groundwater.

Third place in the competition was a tie between the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority and last year’s champions the Boston Water and Sewer Commission. The People’s Choice award winner, as determined by the conference attendees, went to Champlain Water District of South Burlington, Vt.

Other “Best of the Best” participants in today’s competition included: Arcadia Water Utility, Arcadia, Wisc.; City of Anaheim Public Utilities Department, Anaheim, Calif.; City of Chelsea, Mich.; City of Fargo, N.D.; City of Hamilton, Ohio; Latham Water District, Latham, N.Y.; City of Tallahassee Underground Utilities, Tallahassee, Fla.; City of Tulsa, Okla.; City of Universal City, Texas; Chester Water Authority, Chester, Penn.; Duck River Utility Commission, Tullahoma, Tenn.; Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District, Herriman, Utah; Georgetown County Water & Sewer District, Pawley’s Island, S.C.; Henry County Water Authority, Jackson, Ga.; Leeds Water Works Board, Leeds, Ala.; Lincoln Water System, Lincoln, Neb.; Merchantville Pennsauken Water Commission, Pennsauken, N.J.; Moorhead Public Service, Moorhead, Minn.; North Park Public Water District, Machesney, Ill.; Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, San Juan, P.R.; Spotsylvania County Utilities, Fredericksburg, Va.; Valley Water District, Puyallup, Wash.; Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, Laurel, Md.; WaterOne, Kansas City, Kan., and West Virginia American Water, Charleston, W.V.

An esteemed judging panel rated each water system on its flavor characteristics. Judges included James Naylor, project manager at Alan Plummer Associates; Cliff Shrive, senior principal for Stantec Consulting and Patrick Planton, senior principal for Short Elliott Hendrickson.

This is the eleventh year AWWA has held the national competition. Previous winners are Boston Water and Sewer Commission (2014), Oklahoma City Water and Wastewater Utility (2007 and 2013), Fremont, Neb. (2012), Greenville, S.C. (2011), Stevens Point, Wis. (2010), Macon (Ga.) Water Authority (2009), Louisville (Ky.) Water Company (2008) and Illinois American Water, Champaign District (2006 and 2005).

ACE15, which has brought an estimated 12,000 water experts to Anaheim, is the longest running water conference in the world, having first convened in 1881. The event features several hundred expert presentations and an exposition of more than 500 companies showcasing the latest innovations in water technology.

Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the world’s most important resource. With approximately 50,000 members, AWWA provides solutions to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance our quality of life.

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