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Where is the state's best-tasting water?
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Raise a glass to the best-tasting water in Wisconsin.

That honor goes to the White Lake municipal water system, winner of the 2019 award from the Wisconsin Rural Water Association.

The elegant trophy, shaped in the form of a water drop, was presented at the organization's annual technical conference held March 26 through 29 in LaCrosse. Accepting on behalf of the community was Scott Popelka, White Lake's director of public works.

“We brought a water sample down for judging and were fortunate enough to take first place this year,” Popelka said.

Judging is not unlike the type used for any other fine liquid such as maple syrup, wine or bourbon. According to Ed Hendzel with the Wisconsin Rural Water Association, criteria includes clarity and odor and, of course, taste, with individual scores recorded by five judges.

“It's really whatever tastes the best to them,” Popelka said. “Each judge assigns a numerical value to each sample.”

With 131 points, White Lake beat out Tomahawk, with 129 points, and Iron River, 127, for the top honor.

Popelka said the village's water has come close before, taking second a few years ago. The village water utility pumps from two wells, at 92 and 98 feet deep, with 178 services. Storage takes place in a 100,000 gallon capacity water tower that looms over the community.

The purity of the supply is outstanding, Popelka said.

“It's as natural as can be,” he said. “We don't add any fluoride or chlorine or anything else to it. We are very fortunate we don't have to treat it.”

White Lake now moves on to the national competition in Washington D.C. in February, 2020.

“We've had a couple of winners at the national level,” Hendzel said. “It's a nice honor for White Lake.”
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James Turner and Scott Popelka, who make up the White Lake public works department, stand near the water tower, with the first place trophy.

Where is the state's best-tasting water?
space
Raise a glass to the best-tasting water in Wisconsin.

That honor goes to the White Lake municipal water system, winner of the 2019 award from the Wisconsin Rural Water Association.

The elegant trophy, shaped in the form of a water drop, was presented at the organization's annual technical conference held March 26 through 29 in LaCrosse. Accepting on behalf of the community was Scott Popelka, White Lake's director of public works.

“We brought a water sample down for judging and were fortunate enough to take first place this year,” Popelka said.

Judging is not unlike the type used for any other fine liquid such as maple syrup, wine or bourbon. According to Ed Hendzel with the Wisconsin Rural Water Association, criteria includes clarity and odor and, of course, taste, with individual scores recorded by five judges.

“It's really whatever tastes the best to them,” Popelka said. “Each judge assigns a numerical value to each sample.”

With 131 points, White Lake beat out Tomahawk, with 129 points, and Iron River, 127, for the top honor.

Popelka said the village's water has come close before, taking second a few years ago. The village water utility pumps from two wells, at 92 and 98 feet deep, with 178 services. Storage takes place in a 100,000 gallon capacity water tower that looms over the community.

The purity of the supply is outstanding, Popelka said.

“It's as natural as can be,” he said. “We don't add any fluoride or chlorine or anything else to it. We are very fortunate we don't have to treat it.”

White Lake now moves on to the national competition in Washington D.C. in February, 2020.

“We've had a couple of winners at the national level,” Hendzel said. “It's a nice honor for White Lake.”
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James Turner and Scott Popelka, who make up the White Lake public works department, stand near the water tower, with the first place trophy.
2019
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