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Which Pa. water company has the best drinking water? By (Ashleigh Albert | For lehighvalleylive.com)

Which Pa. water company has the best drinking water? By (Ashleigh Albert | For lehighvalleylive.com)

Pennsylvania water companies competed Wednesday night to be called the “Best Tasting Water” in the state at the PA American Water Works Association conference at the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem.

The conference is an annual event in which water companies across the state convene and participate in several water-related events.

This was the first year the Best of Pennsylvania Taste Test contest was held. During the “People’s Choice Tasting” part of the competition, York Water Company located in York, Pennsylvania, was crowned the best tasting water out of nine entrants.

Capital Region Water, located in Harrisburg, was crowed the winner of the “Expert Panel Taste Test” part of the competition. A panel of five judges picked Capital Region Water as the best of five waters selected in the earlier “People’s Choice Tasting” competition.

Capital Region Water also placed in the top five in a national taste test contest at a national water conference in 2014 in Boston. The company had since wanted to participate in a state competition, according to Andrew Bliss, the representative for the company at the contest.

The company is a municipal authority that provides drinking water, storm water and waste water services to residents across Harrisburg. Bliss said his company’s staff are stewards of their water system and committed to protecting public water health.

“One reason that our water is so good is because we have 8,000 acres of protected forestland surrounding a 5-mile long reservoir and it’s a pristine source of water,” Bliss said regarding why his company may have taken the first place prize. “And then we have a state-of-the-art treatment plant.”

Capital Region Water will move on to the National Best of Taste Test Contest at the American Water Works Annual Conference & Exposition 2016 in Chicago.

Eastern Suburban Water Authority raises rates

The $1.10 monthly hike aims to pay for future capital improvements, the authority says. Rates are also increasing for Pennsylvania American customers, and Bethlehem wants to do the same.

The five judges who picked the winning water are all in some way experts on the taste of water and its quality. They were prompted to judge each of the samples of water based on their clarity, odor, taste and also gave an overall rating.

One of the judges, Christopher Reilly, who is the quality control/laboratory manager of his company Weyerbacher Brewing Company in Easton, felt Capitol Region Water was the best because it left a “fresh tasting experience” in his mouth after drinking it.

“It truly tasted good overall,” Reilly said.

The “People’s Choice Tasting” part of the competition was judged by anyone present at the conference who wanted to taste the water samples. The winner of this portion of the competition, York Water Company, is over 200 years old.

“We take pride in protecting sewers and having a good treatment process,” York Water Company President Jeffrey Hines said of his company’s water quality. “It’s truly an honor to have been called the best in the people’s choice because Pennsylvania has a lot of great water systems.”

The announcer for the competition and incoming chairman of PA AWWA Dan Preston said the goal of the competition was to showcase the quality of drinking water.

Preston said the goal was to educate people on what it takes to produce good drinking water.

“We wanted to tell the positive story — which is the water of Pennsylvania is pretty good tasting,” he said.

Ashleigh Albert is lehighvalleylive.com’s Russell J. Flanagan Memorial news intern. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.

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