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Purely delicious: Hamilton tap water top notch in nation

By Krista Savage, For The Miami Student

Hamilton, Ohio was named the best tasting municipal water at last weekend's Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Contest in West Virginia. More than 100 water samples were sent in from around the globe, and the city of Hamilton took gold again for the fourth time.

Since 1995, Ohio has dominated the charts in the municipal water tasting portion of the competition. Kent, Montpelier, and Hamilton, Ohio have been reoccurring contestants in the top five places.

The contest is judged by a panel of 11 judges, who go through a blindfolded taste test. Then, they score the categories on taste. The categories are best municipal water, non-carbonated bottled water, carbonated bottled water, drinking water and the People's Choice for Package Design.

In 2009, Hamilton won best municipal water in the United States, but was beaten out by Clearbrook Waterworks District, British Columbia, Canada for best overall. This was the first year that Hamilton entered the contest.

Since then, Hamilton has proven to be a solid contestant. In 2010 and 2012 it received the gold medal, but failed to enter in 2011 because the water sample was lost in the mail. However, Hamilton made a comeback, taking home the gold in 2014 and 2015.

This year was big for the city of Berkeley Springs, as well. Laura Smith, administrative assistant for the Berkeley Springs Travel Bureau, spoke on the significance of the contest to the city.

"This was a huge deal for us, being our 25th Anniversary. The contest is always great for tourist attraction," Smith said. "It also helps us get the word out about the importance of water conservation."

John Bui is the Water Production Superintendent for the city and he explained the reasons behind Hamilton's excellent reputation for water.

"We have pretty typical city water overall, but the big difference is that we use chlorine dioxide, rather than chlorine gas or sodium," Bui said. "This is why our water tastes so pure."

However, Hamilton, home to some fellow Miamians, is not the only city with impressive water quality. Oxford, too, may have room to boast.

"There are a lot of beneficial minerals in the water [in Oxford], primarily magnesium and calcium, which are essential minerals in water," David Weihrauch, manager of the Water Treatment Plant in Oxford, said.

The Oxford Water Treatment Plant supplies all of the water to Oxford residents, including Miami's campus.

"The plant distributes the hard water, and it is up to individuals to then modify it. I believe Miami softens all of the water on campus," Weihrauch said.

However, some students (primarily those living off campus) say they've noticed the appearance of black residue in their toilet water. Senior, Katie Forrester, is one of those students. She lives in Level 27 Apartments and stated that she regularly sees the black residue in the toilets.

There are some rumors among students that the reason for the residue in the toilets is due to an excess of minerals in the water. However, the treatment plant denied the black residue having any connections to this.

"I'm not certain of any reasons why the black residue would be apparent in the plumbing system. It could be related to the functioning of the toilet or due to improper care of facilities, but not minerals," Weihrauch said. "And it is certainly in no way connected to the drinking water side."

The black residue in the toilets remains a mystery, but it appears Miamians can rest assured knowing there are no health risks involved.