Cities With The Best And Safest Drinking Water In America

Cities with the Best and Safest Drinking Water in America

People don't usually think about tap water – it's a necessity of life that is easily available. But it's anything but basic. Drinking water not just hydrogen and oxygen; it has minerals and chemicals, some of which can be very harmful. Many opt  for bottled water, but it is not as heavily regulated or tested as tap water. [See: 15 Easy Ways to Drink More Water Every Day] The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set standards for drinking water quality and oversees the states, localities, and water suppliers who implement those standards. The cities on the following list are based on the winners of the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting, nicknamed the "Academy Awards of Water," which is the largest water tasting competition in the world. A study evaluating drinking water in major cities, conducted by the University of Cincinnati, has also been taken into consideration.

Hamilton, Ohio

Hamilton is the 2015 Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting winner, earning the prestigious title of "the world's best tasting water." The city added another gold medal to its back-to-back wins in 2009 and 2010. Other past awards include the 2012 and 2014 "Best of the Best" award for Ohio's best tasting tap water by the Ohio Section of the American Water Works Association.

Eldorado, Colorado

Eldorado Springs, a census-designated place in Boulder County, is the reigning champion in the "Best Municipal Water" category. Last year, Eldorado finished fourth. Several high quality water sources such as the reservoirs and streams in North Boulder and Middle Boulder Creek Watersheds, and diversions from the upper Colorado River via Carter Lake and Boulder Reservoir are what make the drinking water in the area one of the best in the country, the local government says.

Emporia, Kansas

The city of about 25,000 people was ranked second in the same competition. Emporia has a history of performing well at the event. In 2013, it was awarded the top prize for its municipal H2O. Turbidity, cloudiness or haziness of the water, is cleaner than the allowable limit because of new filters added in 1996, according local government data.

Independence, Missouri

This city moved up in the rankings from 5th in 2015 to 3rd this year. Independence supplies water to about 250,000 people. [See: 20 Surreal Places to See the Clearest, Bluest Water on Earth] It comes from 42 wells, located at the Courtney Bend Water Treatment Plant. They receive water from the Missouri River Alluvial Aquifer, classified as a ground water source. The well water is softened and disinfected at the treatment plant, and meets or exceeds all federal and state quality regulations, according to the latest quality report.

Montpelier, Ohio

Even though it has slipped from winning the Berkeley Springs Water Tasting in 2003, 2006 and 2007, Montpelier has been in the Top 5 for years. Last year, it finished fourth. There are no mountains nearby, there is a "splendid aquifer, possibly flowing from Lake Michigan" that keeps the water clean, according to local authorities.

Dickinson, North Dakota

Dickinson also finished fourth in 2015. The city received its drinking water from Lake Sakakawea, which is a surface water source. The state health department had concluded that "Southwest Water Authority has effectively treated this source water to meet drinking water standards," according to the 2015 Drinking Water Quality report.

Santa Ana, California

The city of 330,000 people placed 4th in this year's competition. It was No. 3 in 2011. Santa Ana gets more than 60 percent of its water supply from its own groundwater wells, and buys the rest from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. "The groundwater is pretty much ready to drink as soon as it is pumped," a local official says. "The only treatment the city does is add a tiny (0.4 parts per million) amount of chlorine to protect against contamination."

Desert Hot Springs, California

Mission Springs Water, which provides water to a 135-sq.-mile area that includes the Desert Hot Springs, finished in the Top 5 at this year's Berkeley Springs Water Tasting. [See: Drinking Too Much Water Can Kill You] The water for the city is drawn from the Mission Creek Subbasin aquifer. Nine deep water wells within the Mission Creek Sub-basin and one within the Garnet Sub-basin pump into the District's distribution system, according to a report.

St. Louis, Missouri

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati conducted a study of all the tap waters in major cities across the country. They found that the tap water in St. Louis, which is the most dangerous city in the U.S., had some chemicals and pollutants but their amount was way below EPA standards. The water also had a better taste, scent, and clearness. St. Louis' two water purification plants draw water primarily from the Missouri river, and they produce 150 million gallons of clean water each day, according to the mayor's office.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tulsa was in the Top 25 American cities for tap water. The drinking water comes from three lakes in northeastern Oklahoma. The city monitors pH, turbidly, chlorine, and other water quality tests every 4 hours. The distribution is tested with 200 samples per month. The 2016 quality report says Tulsa water is safe to drink and free of bacteria and harmful substances. [See: 17 Household Items You Should Get Rid of Immediately]

Las Vegas, Nevada

The field study showed that the tap water in the Sin City was some of the clearest and bacteria free in the U.S. Lake Mead supplies nearly 90 percent of the drinking water. Almost all water in Lake Mead originates as snowmelt in the Rocky Mountains that flows down the Colorado River. Levels exceed federal and state standards, according to the quality report, but pregnant women are advised to talk to their doctor before drinking it.

Austin, Texas

Austin, one of the most beautiful places for open water swimming, is on the top in all categories when it comes to clean and safe tap water, according to the research. The latest report for July 2016 shows low levels of turbidity. Austin water also ranked low in lead and haloacetic acid. In 2009, the Environmental Working Group ranked 100 cities with a population of 250,000+ for water quality, and Austin ranked 7th best.

Stevens Point, Wisconsin

The city, the motto of which is "City of Wonderful Water," won the "Best of the Best" water that comes from a faucet contest organized by the American Water Works Association. The water comes from groundwater wells and is treated with chlorine, fluoride and phosphate.

Silverdale, Washington

The city uses water from a 1,000-foot-deep aquifer that's so pure the utility pumps it directly to homes without treating it. There are 11 dwells that are drilled in three district zones. The aquifers are not exposed to air and are not subject to direct pollution or contamination. They are all reached by rainfall that falls on the Kitsap Peninsula, according to the city's water quality report.

Denver, Colorado

Denver water more than meets all regulatory mandates and has never violated any standards. Its main source is snowmelt in the Rocky Mountains, contributing to the mineral taste of the water. Tap water is perfectly safe without a filter. Authorities have not detected lead in treated water or source water. Recreational activities are banned in three reservoirs because they are the last storage points of water before treatment.