Madison County Public Water Supply District (PWSD) 1 was named the best tasting water in Missouri at the Missouri Rural Water Association (MRWA) Annual Open House April 22 in Ashland.
According to Benjamin Shuman who is the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Senior Environmental Engineer from Washington, D.C., the open house is instrumental in bringing water system representatives together with consulting engineers who specialize in the field together.
He and Jacqueline Ponti-Lazaruk, USDA Rural Development Water and Environmental Program Assistant Administrator attended Earth day activities as well as the open house while they were in Missouri.
Dora Rosa, office manager for the Madison County PWSD 1, said, “I completed our entry for the contest and this is the first year we have entered.”
Rosa was the sole local representative and traveled to Ashland to accept the award.
“Tom Hyatt is the operation certification circuit rider with MRWA and presenter,” she said. “He lives in Madison County and actually drinks our water.”
“The award that I got in Ashland was not the real thing. So, an MRWA representative will present the official plaque and provide a luncheon to our staff May 15 in Fredericktown,” Rosa said.
April 23, Rosa was invited to Jefferson City for the Annual Jefferson City Day event at the State Capitol. “I got pictures with Missouri Senator Wayne Wallingford and Representative Shelley Keeney,” she said. “Our award was announced at the senate and house of representative sessions that day.”
The Madison County PWSD 1 has also been awarded plaques from the Missouri Senate and House of Representatives for its achievement. It has received the plaque from the senate which is signed by Senator Wallingford and President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey. Delivery of the other plaque is expected soon.
According to Rosa, Madison County PWSD 1 is separate from the local water supply for the City of Fredericktown.
“It is a political subdivision of the state, and is not part of the county,” she said. “There is a five member board who is in charge of the water district.”
Kyle Stevens is the certified operator for the county’s PWSD. He received his certification from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
The judging is based on the criterion of bouquet, clarity, and taste. The judging was done in a two-step process with the first round conducted by MRWA staff persons; who narrowed the entries down to the top five.
The top five are judged on the day of the open house by the final judges.
“I took a water sample with me to the open house and it was used in the final judging,” Rosa said. “I took a backup sample because I was afraid the original one could get dropped and break.”
The ultimate results were up to Benjamin Shuman, Steve Sturgess with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Public Drinking Water Branch, and Joshua Hawkins the Administrator for the City of Ashland.
As a result of its top finish in this competition, Madison County Public Water Supply District will enter a sample in the National Rural Water Association taste test event in Washington D.C. in February.
Hyatt said, “Our event is modeled after the national competition. It uses the same criterion for judging; odor, presence of visible particulates; and taste.”