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L.A. water No. 1 in Toast of the Tap

February 21, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

by Richard T. Meagher / staff photographer

click on images below to see enlargements

woman tasting waterL.A. water No. 1 in Toast of the Tap

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Los Angeles, city of angels, celebrities, floods, mud slides, the Dodgers and the Lakers, now also has the best tasting water in the world.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California won the municipal water category of the eighth annual Toast to the Tap International Water Tasting & Competition at Coolfont Resort on Saturday, said spokeswoman Jill Klein Rone. The district finished fourth last year, she said.

The water district is the largest supplier of treated water in the world, although it doesn't serve all of Los Angeles, Rone said.

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The city's other water supplier, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, entered in the water tasting contest, but didn't place, she said.

The water district's sources are the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, according to the event brochure.

Rounding out the top five were Montpelier, Ohio; Huntington Station, N.Y.; Dover, Del.; and Kent, Ohio, Rone said.

Kent, Ohio, also finished in fifth place last year and won first place in 1995, she said. Dover fell a notch from No. 3 last year and Huntington Station placed second in 1996, Rone said.

While none of the four local Tri-State entrants made the top five, Berkeley Springs, Hancock, Md., and the two samples from Hagerstown, Md., all made it through Thursday's preliminary round, Rone said.

Rone said 21 of the 45 entrants made it to Saturday's final round.

Hagerstown submitted two samples this year because the city now has two water sources.

man tasting waterOne sample was from the Edgemont Reservoir that was treated by the new William M. Breichner Water Treatment Plant south of Smithsburg off Crystal Falls Drive. The other was from the Potomac River and was treated at the R.C. Willson Water Treatment Plant near Williamsport.

Breichner, a City Council member superintendent of the water department from 1967 to 1983, was a judge during Thursday's preliminary round. He is a consultant for a New York firm that rehabilitates water distribution systems.

The public had the opportunity to taste the waters and judge for themselves which was better on Saturday. Water should be crystal clear with no odor and no taste.

Barbara Bailey, 63, of Berkeley Springs, said Hagerstown's Willson plant water and Atlantic City water were the best she tasted - better than Berkeley Springs water.

She said she couldn't taste anything that wasn't natural in the two waters.

Her husband, Edward Bailey Jr., 68, said Hagerstown's water was good, but he preferred the water from Anchorage, Alaska.

Berkeley Springs got the nod from Akron, Ohio, resident Gail Reischman, 38, while her husband Mike, also preferred Alaska's water.

Anchorage's water tasted light, said Mike Reischman, 41.

Kim Blenckstone, of Hagerstown, said she recognized the taste of Hagerstown's Willson plant water.

"It's got a smell to it, like it's chlorinated. It's good water," she said.

Blenckstone's husband, David, said he could definitely tell the difference between water from Hagerstown and St. Albans, W.Va.

The St. Albans water seemed softer and didn't have an odor, said Blenckstone, 30.

A Washington, D.C., man tasted his hometown's water, which he said is "awful." The man would not give his name because he is a diplomat.

"I wanted to make sure it was the real awful water they were sending and not something else," said the diplomat, who said he filters his tap water at home.

The diplomat said he was surprised Atlantic City's water was so good.

"I don't know where they get it from, but it's good," he said. According to the event brochure, 80 percent of the city's water is from a well and 20 percent is surface water.

Jean Eyler, 73, of Everett, Pa., said she could taste chlorine in some waters, while others had a smooth taste.

She gave good marks to Atlantic City, Desert Hot Springs, Calif., Titusville, Pa., and of course, Everett, Pa.

Eyler was at the contest with her son, Ron Wright, who is water authority and borough manager for Everett.

While many people said they could notice a difference between the waters, Nebraska resident Jean Brooks, 43, said most of the waters tasted the same.

Brooks was at the contest with her husband to represent a municipal entry from Long Pine, Neb., as well as a bottled water entry from the town called Seven Springs Pure Spring Water.

Long Pine officials decided to enter the city's water into the contest for the first time this year after the city clerk noticed an ad for the event in a water magazine, she said.

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