AWWA Annual Conference: Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust wins the ‘Best of the Best Tap Water Taste Test’

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From the Denver Business Journal (Cathy Proctor):

Tuesday I was a guest judge at the American Water Works Association’s 13th annual conference and exhibition’s “Best of the Best” Tap Water Taste Test. The convention, which runs through Thursday, drew about 10,000 people from all over the country to the Colorado Convention Center.
I discovered that:

• You can taste the difference between water providers across the country.
• Water utility executives can be pretty competitive about their water.
• And while Tuesday’s final judging rounds were a friendly competition, the taste of water has a very serious side.

“It’s the way that people judge the safety of their water,” said Pinar Omur-Ozbek, an assistant professor at Colorado State University’s department of civil and environmental engineering in Fort Collins — and one of three professional taste testers on the panel. “If it doesn’t smell or taste the way people expect then they think there’s something wrong,” she said.

From The Denver Post:

Despite home-field advantage and three local judges among the five, three Colorado water providers failed to crack the winner’s circle in the Best of the Best Tap Water Taste Test this week. The contest, won by the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust, was part of the American Water Works Association’s annual conference that wraps up Thursday in Denver.

Denver Water, Aurora Water and the town of Silverthorne were among the competitors in the contest made up of regional winners from water-tasting competitions across North America, according to the association.

Tying for second place were the city of International Falls, Minn., and Northeast Sammamish Sewer and Water District in Sammamish, Wash. The People’s Choice winner, chosen by conference attendees, was Louisville Water Co. in Louisville, Ky.

The three local judges were Dr. Pinar Omur-Ozbek of Colorado State University; Kimberly Lord Stewart, director of content for Modern Healthcare Professional and contributing food editor for Denver Life magazine and CBS Denver; and Cathy Proctor, a reporter for the Denver Business Journal.

Here’ a guest commentary written by Denver Water’s David LaFrance that is running in The Denver Post. Here’s an excerpt:

Every drop of water that reaches our homes and businesses first passes through an army of well-trained hydrologists, water quality engineers, scientists, treatment plant operators, distribution system workers and other professionals who are committed to keeping water safe and sustainable. Together, they are the first stewards of not only our water supplies, but also a magnificent system of treatment plants and storage tanks, pipes and valves, pumps and hydrants that keep our water safe and reliable every hour of every day.

These people behind the water are usually invisible to us, just like the tens of thousands of miles of pipes beneath our streets. But this week, Denver is hosting more than 11,000 water experts from across the globe for the American Water Works Association’s 132nd Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE13) at the Colorado Convention Center. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper will be among the nearly 900 expert presenters, and the exposition hall will showcase water technology from more than 500 companies – many based right here in Colorado.

There’s no better place for the world’s premier water conference than Denver, because the Mile High City is something of a nerve center for the North American water community. AWWA, the largest and oldest water association in the world with more than 50,000 members, is headquartered in southwest Denver, sharing space with the Water Research Foundation, a global leader in drinking water research. The AWWA building sits on a parcel of land adjacent to Denver Water’s Marston Reservoir, which supplies drinking water to much of the metropolitan area. Water for People, which solves water, sanitation, and hygiene problems in the developing world, is just south of Interstate 25 near downtown Denver.

More infrastructure coverage here and here.

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