Bell jar glass of water

Saratoga — There’s nothing like a good glass of water to go with a boiling hot day during the summer.

Saratoga residents will be drinking what’s considered the best water of the state this year as they were named the 2018 Best Tasting Drinking Water winner in the state of Wyoming during the 27th annual Wyoming Association of Rural Water System Technical Conference and Industry Trade Show in Casper.

Wyoming Rural Water Executive Director Mark Pepper said independent judges checked for odor, clarity and taste during the competition and judged the elements on a 10-point scale.

“The odor could range from, ‘Can you smell the different disinfection in it or does it have any kind of a smell, sulfur?’ Anything like that,” Pepper said. “Then it moves to the clarity.

According to Pepper, clarity judging is done by checking the water for traces of particles and bacteria.

Pepper said finalists included Chugwater, Saratoga, Ten Sleep and the Aspen-Pines Water and Sewer District.

 “They have been in the finals repeatedly,” Pepper said. “I think this might have been their eighth or ninth trip to the finals, so it was kind of fun to see Saratoga win.”

Saratoga Mayor Ed Glode said the city transitioned nine years ago from using river water to using five wells east of town as a result of cleaning difficulties during the summer and the water has been good ever since.

Saratoga topped 20 other registered entries, but Pepper added that there are 334 municipal/public water systems in Wyoming and not everyone entered.

“A lot of systems are considered consecutive systems,” he said. “Like over in Rock Springs you’ve got water systems —White Mountain, Water and Sewer, and some of those that get their water from the city of Rock Springs. So a lot of them don’t potentially bring their samples because if Rock Springs entered, it would be as easy as if White Mountain entered that type of thing.”

Pepper added that Wyoming has done fairly well as a whole.

“We have been in the top ten every year since 2005, with Aspen scoring in the top five and Aspen-Pine scoring a gold medal win in 2016,” Pepper said.

Pepper said all water systems are under the same drinking water act and the national results show the high level of care that goes into the water.

“The professional licensed water operators do a great job in making sure that the water that is served to the public is safe and continuing to be affordable,” he said. “They do so by adhering by the same drinking water act.”

Despite winning, Glode said the town still has areas it can improve on its water.

“With the change of water, we now have water with minerals in it,” he said. “The minerals don’t filter out with the filter.”

Glode said the town hopes to eventually get rid of the problem.

“There’s ideas floating around about a system out at the wells or between the wells in town that may have some kind of reverse osmosis,” he said. “There is another idea; but an expensive product to put in your home that is kind of like a loader softener without salt.”

Saratoga will compete in the Great American Taste contest in Washington D.C. next February.

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