BATAVIA – When it comes to the best-tasting water in Kane County, the village of Montgomery has bragging rights.
The village was selected by a panel of three judges Thursday during the Kane County Water Association’s annual Best Tasting Water competition. Ten municipalities participated, submitting samples of room-temperature tap water in clear beakers.
Three judges carefully examined the clarity of the water before smelling and tasting it.
Judge Bob Sasman, who is retired from the Illinois State Water Survey, said he thought the water he sampled was good, adding it was difficult to judge.
“If we could do it again, we could easily come up with a different arrangement,” he said. “... It was extremely difficult. They were all fine.”
Jack Rosenstiel, utility supervisor for the Montgomery treatment plant, said this was the first year the village won the competition, which included North Aurora, Aurora, St. Charles, Sugar Grove, Batavia, Elgin, South Elgin, Geneva and Yorkville.
Rosenstiel said recent improvements to the water treatment plant may have enhanced the taste. A $1.3 million upgrade concluded this spring.
“This is the fruit of the labor we put in,” he said.
Bill Balluff, treasurer for the Kane County Water Association, said those who operate water treatment plants work each day to furnish safe, clean drinking water.
“They’re a classic example of unsung heroes,” he said.
The winner of the countywide competition will compete in state and national competitions. The village’s name also will be added to a plaque, which includes the previous winners dating to 1997.
Sugar Grove-based firm, Engineering Enterprises Inc., assisted with the Montgomery plant’s renovation.
Rosenstiel said the water judges tasted Thursday was drawn from a lime softening facility. Groundwater passes through what’s called a “claricone,” which strips water of its odor, and adds lime and a polymer.
“The village has an excellent crew,” Rosenstiel said. “It’s a process that we all love.”