U.S. Water News Online
BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- A lingering taste of chlorination proved to be the undoing of a number of the 44 municipal water samples entered in this year's annual "Toast to the Tap" International Water Tasting and Competition at Berkeley Springs. In the end, tapwater of Atlantic City, N.J., was judged best among the municipal waters of the sixth annual taste contest, but last year's winner -- Kent, Ohio -- failed to make the final round of the competition.
John Kordinak of the Kent Municipal Water Department was convinced that chlorine odor and aftertaste kept his city from winning the Berkeley Springs water tasting for a second year in a row. Normally, explained Kordinak, chlorine breaks down over time in the sealed container of a water sample. "We ran some tests beforehand and everything seemed to be okay," he said. "I don't know what happened this year, but the chlorine was still there." Undaunted, Kordinak still plans to pursue his plans of marketing the Kent water supply as a retail bottled water under the name "Spritzy," a descriptive term used by a judge last year for the central Ohio water.
This year's water tasting not only was larger than the previous five contests conducted at Berkeley Springs, but was arguably the biggest international water tasting ever, said Arthur von Wiesenberger, noted water expert and author who serves as "water master of the West Virginia event. Von Wiesenberger's latest book, entitled "The Taste of Water," presents the components of taste and how they are found and evaluated in water.
Atlantic City was a repeat winner in the annual Berkeley Springs tasting, having previously won the contest in 1993 and placing fourth in 1994. Placing second among municipal waters in this year's contest was Huntington Station, N.Y., followed by Ames, Iowa, which moved up a notch from fourth place last year. A couple of West Virginia city water supplies, South Putnam County Public Service District and Berkeley Springs, claimed fourth and fifth places, respectively.
Among the 41 non-carbonated bottled waters entered in this year's tasting, an Italian brand -- Panna Natural Spring Water of Milan -- was named by a panel of 14 tasting judges as the best, followed by Mauka Water of Maui, Hawaii. Eldorado Artesian Spring Water of Eldorado Springs, Colo., which placed fifth in the municipal category last year, came in third among the non-carbonated bottled waters. There was a three-way tie for fourth place among Grayson Mountain Water of Independence, Va., Green Spring Water of Clear Spring, Md., and Nicolet Forest of Mountain, Wis. Tyler Mountain Premium Spring Water of Manheim, Pa., was judged fifth.
Perrier of France claimed first place among a small field of sparkling waters in the tasting contest, followed closely by Poland Spring Natural Spring Water of Poland Spring, Maine. A three-time winner at Berkeley Springs, Perrier previously was judged the best sparkling water in 1993 and in 1991.
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