PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wis. – The staff of the Prairie du Sac water system watched the live video feed of the Great American Water Taste test, not even knowing they had made the five finalists. By the end of the ceremony, the Wisconsin village’s water had been judged the nation’s best-tasting.
“It was a good day, that day,” said Public Works Director Pat Drone. “I was surprised. It was a great honor.”
The gold medal at the taste test was especially-surprising, since Prairie du Sac nearly skipped the state drinking water test.
“I wasn’t going to send in a sample this year,” Drone said.
He explained that delivery issues had prevented the samples from Prairie du Sac or the near-by village of Bloomington from completing in the Wisconsin taste test. The two villages had not had a sample in the taste test at the same time.
“He said ‘You have to bring a sample,’” Drone said of the Bloomington public works director. “’We have to see who’s water is best.’”
Prairie du Sac won the state competition as won the golden medal award for best tasting water in the nation during the Great American Water Taste Test, held on Feb. 13 at the Rural Water Rally in Washington, D.C.
The utility draws its water from three wells to supply 1,800 customers. The newest well, Number Four, came on-line in 2012, with the original Number One well capped and out of service. The records are not clear, but it appears the water utility has been in operation since 1914.
“A lot of people have mentioned how good the water tastes, even before the competition,” Drone said.
He said he has no proof, but he credits the water’s good taste to the village’s choice of disinfection and the hard work of its employees.
“I don’t like chlorine, so I’m glad the village board decided to go with UV,” he said.
After consulting with experts the board decided to use UV to disinfect water as it was drawn from the wells.
“We still use chlorine to flush the system, which we do twice a year, but out of the ground we use UV,” Drone explained.
He also gave credit to the water department staff and village board for their hard work in ensuring Prairie du Sac has the highest quality water on tap.
“It falls back on the village board and all the employees,” he said. “Our operations specialists, Rick Rothman and Mark Young do a very good job. They are very conscientious.”
Because of that wok and those decisions, Prairie du Sac can claim it has the best tasting water in the country. It’s a title the village employees look forward to upholding.
“We’re all very excited,” Drone said.