Competitors Face Off for Best Tasting Drinking Water

Regions IV and X of the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association (FSAWWA) held their respective drinking water taste-testing competition at the Three Sisters Springs National Wildlife Refuge in Crystal River and at the District’s Sarasota office on Friday April 8. 

The winners were the City of Wildwood for the Region IV competition in Crystal River and Charlotte County for the Region X competition held in Sarasota. 

The entries are inspected by a panel of judges and rated by their taste, odor, color and clarity. District staff who sat in as part of the panel of judges included Mandi Rice, assistant executive director, and Mark Green, Springs and Environmental Flows manager, for Region IV and Nicole Mytyk, SWIM Program professional engineer, for Region X.

Region IV includes Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Sumter and Polk Counties. The region had at least one entry from each of the seven counties, totaling 25 entries and setting the record in Region IV for the most entries to date. 

“This will put us on the board with our customers and our council since we’re doing a good job representing the city,” said Mark Odell, City of Wildwood utilities superintendent. 

Region X includes Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, De Soto and Hardee counties. The region had nine entries and its judge panel included Peggy Guignoa, FSAWWA executive director. 

“Events like these showcase the importance of something that often gets overlooked; every day these utilities deliver safe, great tasting and high quality water. Today allows for the recognition they deserve,” said Nick Makris, District project manager and Region IV chair.

“This competition is great because it allows us to appreciate the people who make sure we have clean water coming out of our taps,” said Terri Holcomb, Region X chair. 

The two winning utilities will now enter their tap water in the state competition.