Sitka’s tap water, locally sourced from Blue Lake, won second place last week in the American Water Works Association’s taste-testing competition.
Water One, an independent water utility serving Johnson County, Kansas, won the top prize. Water One also won the People’s Choice Award. Sitka did not enter this contest because more water would have had to be shipped to Texas.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota finished third.
Environmental Superintendent Shilo Williams says Sitka was one of 26 finalists from the United States and Canada. To participate, competitors must first win their national or regional contests and cannot have any drinking water violations on their record from the previous year.
Sitka qualified for national competition after winning the title from Alaska.
The competition was held during the AWWA National Water Industry Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Williams shipped two one-liter glass bottles of Sitka water to the conference in a cooler, but her hopes were nearly dashed by a maritime disaster.
“While I was there, I received an email from the contest coordinator saying our bottles were broken,” Williams says. “So we were really disappointed about that. And I thought that was the end and we wouldn’t stand a chance.
But the next day, Williams learned that only one of the bottles had broken and they were back in the game.
Three water industry judges tasted the 26 contestants’ samples.
“They were definitely taking their time, smelling and tasting the water, and jotting down their notes,” Williams says.
The judges then narrowed it down to five finalists for a second round of sampling.
Williams says this is their first time competing, and she believes this is the first time an Alaskan utility has placed in the event.
“I’m really excited about it. But you know, it really has nothing to do with me. This is our great source of water,” says Williams. “Blue Lake is a source of pristine water. So we are really lucky to have blue lake as our water source. I mean, it’s fantastic water on its own. We provide very minimal processing, low addition of chemicals. »
Williams says she is grateful for the dedication of city staff who ensure clean water is delivered to Sitkans.