(June 27, 2007) - Oklahoma City’s drinking water has been named “Best of the Best” in a water-tasting competition conducted by the American Water Works Association (AWWA). The award was presented June 25 at the association’s 125th Annual Conference and Exposition in Toronto. Accepting on behalf of the City’s Utilities Department were Monte Hannon, water quality superintendent, and engineering assistants Donna Skidmore and Cindy Morgan.
“We’re extremely proud to be selected as the winner of the Best of the Best Water Taste Test,” Hannon said. “The competition was very impressive. This award is a testament to all the employees who work hard to provide Oklahoma City residents with the best water possible.”
The event contestants were state and regional Best of the Best winners from across North America, from Alaska to Florida, from Ontario to Texas and cities in between. The Oklahoma City Water Quality Division won the AWWA Southwest Section tasting competition in October 2006 to earn a berth in the North American event.
Marsha Slaughter, director of Oklahoma City’s Utilities Department, commends the employees who treat, test and monitor the city’s drinking water.
“The employees at the Draper, Hefner and Overholser treatment plants work very hard around the clock to provide Oklahoma City residents with clean, quality and good tasting water,” Slaughter said. “They keep a constant watchful eye on the water and ensure that it’s the best before residents turn on their taps. However, thisBest of the Best awardbelongs tothe whole water team, from Atoka Lake to the treatment plant and quality control laboratory to the water’s release to the public.”
Plant operators test the water being treated twice during each shift – or four times a day. Tests are run on the raw water, the treated water and the water leaving the plant. Ultimately, Oklahoma City drinking water is tested 12 times a day. Operators also conduct quality assurance and quality control processes to ensure the accuracy of their tests. In addition, chemists in the water quality laboratory conduct weekly and monthly tests on water from Oklahoma City’s three treatment plants. The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality also tests the water treated at each plant on a monthly basis.
AWWA is the authoritative resource for knowledge, information and advocacy to improve the quality and supply of water in North America and beyond. The association is the largest organization of water professionals in the world. AWWA advances public health, safety and welfare by uniting the efforts of the full spectrum of the entire water community. The Oklahoma City Utilities Department has been a member of AWWA for 20 years. Currently, Todd Brewer, laboratory manager, serves on the association’s Water Utility Council and as a trustee for its Southwest Section, and Donna Skidmore, engineering assistant, is the director of the Southwest Section that includes Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.