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Published: Monday, 2/27/2006

Montpelier water wins again

BY KARAMAGI RUJUMBA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

MONTPELIER, Ohio - Steve Yagelski has a new slogan: "Come to Montpelier, and we'll give you a glass of the best water anywhere."

Mr. Yagelski, mayor of this Williams County village, can boast with a certain confidence after Saturday's 16th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Taste contest in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., where Montpelier was awarded the gold medal for having the best municipal water.

This is the second time Montpelier, which is 56 miles west of Toledo, has won the international contest for best municipal water since 2003.

"To be honest, no one has ever asked us what our secret is, but we have a very good water department, and we also draw our water from a great aquifer," Mr. Yagelski said yesterday.

This year's competition, which included entrants from 22 states and 12 countries, saw two Ohio municipalities compete in the best municipal water category. Kent, Ohio, won the silver medal.

The water tasting competition, held every year in Berkeley, a West Virginia town known for its mineral water, also included competition for awards in purified, bottled, carbonated, and noncarbonated, and people's choice for package design categories.

"The fact that we have won twice says a lot about our water," said Bill Blakely, superintendent of Montpelier's water-treatment plant. He was particularly excited about this year's award because the village has not entered the contest since wining the gold award in 2003.

"We consider this a back-to-back victory for us," Mr. Blakely said.

"The biggest factor in our water wells is to remove the hardness and iron and we are the only municipality in Williams County that uses a lime softening plant," said Mr. Blakely. "It gives our water a nice and smooth taste."

Mr. Blakely also credited Montpelier's new $7 million treatment plant that began operating in September, 2005, for producing the award-winning water quality.

Mayor Yagelski credited the residents of Montpelier who he said "didn't argue about building a state-of-the-art water facility, and now, when businesses come here in the future, we will have bragging rights. We will tell them to try our water," he said.



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