Evart DPW wins AWWA regional award for best tasting water

WaterAward: Members of the Evart Department of Public Works (back row, from left) Buck Vallad, John Miscikoski, John Carmoney, Rick Aube, Cory Walker, (front row, from left) Bruce Bregenzer, Patrick Muczynski, Dale Martin and Barb Nostrant pose with a trophy awarded to the city by American Water Works Association's Michigan Section in recognition of having the best tasting drinking water in one of five state regions.
WaterAward: Members of the Evart Department of Public Works (back row, from left) Buck Vallad, John Miscikoski, John Carmoney, Rick Aube, Cory Walker, (front row, from left) Bruce Bregenzer, Patrick Muczynski, Dale Martin and Barb Nostrant pose with a trophy awarded to the city by American Water Works Association’s Michigan Section in recognition of having the best tasting drinking water in one of five state regions.

EVART — A one-quart jug filled from a tap in the city is enough to win Evart a regional award for the best tasting water.

Members of the Department of Public Works received a trophy for the win after the taste test competition, which took place April 24 at a Michigan regional American Water Works Association conference in Mt. Pleasant.

The Evart water and sewer department merged with DPW last year, and this is the first year Evart has claimed first in the region.

Evart DPW Director Buck Vallad credits the hard work of his crew members for the award and said he knew they would rise to the challenge of controlling the system.

“If our water is now winning contests, it’s definitely on their end,” said Vallad.

Evart was declared the winner after voters tasted seven samples from other areas, including Midland, Lowell, Plainfield Township, Cadillac, and Oak Pointe, said Dave Stinson of the MI-AWWA’s Community Awareness Committee. The committee helps organize each taste-off.

Each sample is scored by three judges on appearance, taste and aroma.

Vallad said most of the DPW employees are from the area and care about how their jobs affect the city and its residents.

“I think it’s a type of vindication for what they’ve done,” said Vallad.

DPW lead operator Patrick Muczynski said seven active wells and two points in the distribution system are monitored regularly to make sure chemical levels of chlorine and phosphates are correct and safe. Any change could alter the water’s flavor and quality. Currently, the city distributes between 600 million and one billion gallons each year.

Muczynski said he is thankful and proud to receive the best tasting water award.

“It’s a way to show that we are doing something right,” he said. “It’s the guys who are doing daily monitoring and the continuous chemical feed pumps that keeps the water safe.”

The state competition will take place in September in Grand Rapids at the MI-AWWA annual conference, and Evart will compete against water samples from Manistique, New Buffalo, Chelsea and the Mancelona Area Sewer and Water Authority.

If Evart wins first in the state, the city will represent Michigan in next year’s national competition.

“Either way, we can’t get less than fifth in the state,” Vallad added.

City Manager Zack Szakacs said he is happy for the accomplishment of Vallad and his team.

“It just goes to show you the city of Evart maintains the integrity of the water system, and by doing so, we’re awarded with the best tasting water in our region,” said Szakacs.Mayor Eric Schmidt also congratulates the group.

“By (Vallad’s) department getting the water award for outstanding water, it shows the care they have for our city water,” said Schmidt. “I am personally proud of the what the water department has accomplished and wish them the best of luck as they seek to further their rewards as they enter the sate competition.”

He added Vallad is consistently finding ways not only to make Evart’s water system better, but more efficient, which saves the citizens money while still producing a great product.