Ames tap water rated best in Iowa for second year in a row



Ames tap water has been rated the best in Iowa for the second year in a row.

Devyn Leeson

Ames tap water.

Those three words illicit emotion for many in Ames who argue it is the best water in Iowa, and now there is some proof to back it up.

For the second year in a row, blind taste testing in Dubuque, by judges from the American Water Works Association, rated Ames water the best in Iowa. These awards have come alongside two years of operation from the Ames water treatment facility.

“We are honored and excited to bring home this award again,” said John Dunn, Water and Pollution Control Director in a press release from the City of Ames. “Our new Water Treatment Plant is in its second year of operation, and the community has been proud and supportive of our work. It feels great to achieve statewide recognition for our efforts on behalf of Ames residents.”

The judges use “very specific criteria,” according to the press release.

The water is put in clear glass bottles to avoid contamination of the waters flavors. These glasses are “sparkling clean and specially rinsed after coming out of a dishwasher to eliminate any soap residue,” according to the press release.

Similar to other taste testing practices, the judges are required to take time between samples to cleanse their palate. Outside of the water’s taste, judges also looked at its odor, appearance, aftertaste and how it felt in their mouths.

Superintendent of the Ames Water Treatment PlantLyle Hammes — who accepted the award on behalf of Ames — said this wasn’t the first time Ames has won the state award.

“We have won it a few times in the past and we once got second place nationally,” Hammes said. “This means Ames qualifies for the national competition in Denver next June.”

Hammes said Ames water quality can mainly be attributed to where it comes from.

“We can only take so much credit because it all starts with a good source water,” Hammes said. “We have 100 percent groundwater, and we are above the Ames aquifer which is a very high-quality water to start with.”

This quality of water depends largely on the source location, Hammes said. Other areas that use surface water can have taste affected by its surroundings, meaning organic odors or smells similar to chlorine can arise.

“The Iowa Section – American Water Works Association is the largest association of water industry professionals in Iowa,” according to the press release. “It is comprised of more than 700 water utility operators, managers, and others from nearly every water utility in the state. The Ames Water Treatment plant is a conventional lime-softening facility with a maximum daily capacity of 15 million gallons per day.”