Kanawha Valley Water System Wins Award for Best Tasting Tap Water in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (May 26, 2017) – West Virginia American Water’s Kanawha Valley water system received the statewide award for best tasting water in the “Taste Test” competition held this week at the annual American Water Works Association (AWWA) West Virginia Section conference in Beckley, W.Va. Twelve water utilities participated in the competition, which was judged by three independent water industry representatives. To be eligible to participate, water systems must not have received any state or federal drinking water violations during the previous calendar year, and the utility or an employee must be a member of AWWA.

“I am extremely proud of our Kanawha Valley treatment plant operators and water quality staff for this accomplishment,” said Brian Bruce, president of West Virginia American Water. “This award is a testament to their water treatment expertise and their dedication to producing high quality drinking water that not only surpasses all drinking water standards, but also has a pleasing taste to our customers.” 

Judges were presented with room-temperature, unmarked water samples from each of the participating water systems and asked to grade each sample on aesthetic and flavor characteristics, such as appearance, odor, mouth feel, aftertaste and overall impression. Other competing water systems were Beckley-Glade Creek, Beckley-Sweeneysburg, Bluefield, Bluestone, Buckhannon, Gassaway, Morgantown, New River, Parkersburg, Webster Springs and Weston.

Taste Test judge Gene Koontz, immediate past president of AWWA and water business line director for Gannett Fleming in Harrisburg, Pa., has judged water taste competitions in more than 20 different locations in North America during his time as an officer of AWWA. 

“This competition was certainly challenging because any of the 12 submissions could have been judged as excellent and worthy of a championship title,” said Koontz. “This makes the victory by West Virginia American Water’s Kanawha Valley system even more impressive as the best of the best. It will be a serious contender next month as the winners from the U.S., Canada and Mexico compete in Philadelphia.”

With its win, the Kanawha Valley system will now compete in the annual international competition against other AWWA section Taste Test winners for the titles of People’s Choice and “Best of the Best” during the AWWA Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE).  ACE is the longest-running water conference in the world, featuring several hundred expert presentations and an exposition of more than 500 companies showcasing the latest innovations in water technology. This year’s ACE will be held in Philadelphia, Pa. June 12-14.

The Kanawha Valley water treatment plant draws water from the Elk River and produces approximately 27 million gallons of treated water each day to serve 93,000 customers (approximately 220,000 people) in Kanawha, Putnam, Boone and surrounding counties. A detailed water quality report for this system can be found at 

West Virginia American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest water utility in the state, providing high quality and reliable water services to approximately 550,000 people. Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest publicly traded U.S. water and wastewater utility company. The company employs more than 6,700 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to an estimated 15 million people in 47 states and Ontario, Canada. More information can be found at  

Established in 1881, the American Water Works Association is the largest nonprofit, scientific and educational association dedicated to managing and treating water, the world’s most important resource. With approximately 50,000 members, AWWA provides solutions to improve public health, protect the environment, strengthen the economy and enhance our quality of life. More information can be found at