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Missouri’s best tasting water can be found in Edgar Springs

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Pictured left to right: Andrew Fisher, USDA-Rural Development; Wesley Williams, Phelps Co. PWSD #1; Charlie Zitnik, D. A. Davidson; Rondelle Williams, Phelps Co. PWSD #1; Jeff Pinson, Missouri Dept of Natural Resources; and Andy Bowman, MRWA Marketing Coordinator.


ASHLAND, Mo. (April 20, 2023) – The best tasting water in Missouri can be found in Edgar Springs. Public Water Supply District (PWSD) #1 of Phelps County captured top honors in the 2023 Missouri Rural Water Association (MRWA) Show-Me Tap Water Roundup. Its water sample competed with finalists from two other water districts and two municipal water supplies: St. Francois County PWSD #2, Consolidated PWSD #1 of Boone County, and the cities of Belle and Cole Camp. Representatives from four of the five competing systems were present to witness the judging of the samples.

The contest, held at the MRWA Open House on Wednesday, April 19, was judged by members of the water/wastewater community. The judges for this year’s competition were Andrew Fisher with USDA-Rural Development, Charlie Zitnik with D A Davidson and Jeff Pinson with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

For the taste test, there are three criteria each sample is judged with a possible 10 points in each category from each judge totaling 90 possible points:

  • Clarity: signifying the sample is free of particles or debris and is clear without discoloration.
  • Bouquet: signifying the sample is odor-free and without smell.
  • Taste: signifying the sample has a satisfying and palatable taste.

This year’s contest was closer than usual with only five points separating the winner from the rest of the group.

Phelps Co. PWSD #1’s Chief Operator Wesley Williams and District Clerk Rondelle Williams were present to accept the MRWA WaterDrop Award for Excellence for the district’s win. The district was established on June 27, 1966, and today serves approximately 825 customers through its 326 active service connections. When asked what the secret was to the system’s great-tasting water, Rondelle Williams stated, “We’re not required to disinfect our water before it goes to distribution and we are prompt at taking care of issues when they may arise in the system.”

Additionally, Rondelle and Wesley thanked their district board and the district’s customers for their continued support in the operation of the system and thanked MRWA for hosting the taste test competition.

The next stage for Phelps Co. PWSD #1 will be a national one. Its water will represent Missouri at the National Rural Water Association Rural Water Rally in February 2024 in Washington, D.C. This parent organization of the MRWA hosts a nationwide Great American Water Taste Test each year to determine which state has the best tasting water.

MRWA congratulates PWSD #1 of Phelps County for its exceptional water quality and hopes that it will earn its deserved recognition before a national panel of judges.

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