Evansville can boast best tasting water in Minnesota

The city in western Douglas County had upgraded its water treatment system in 2019.

Upgrading its water treatment plant and replacing its water tower has apparently paid off for Evansville: It has the best-tasting water in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Rural Water Association.

Evansville, population 600, edged out two other finalists in the water competition, Battle Lake and Bloomington, said Robyn Hoerr, the association's source water protection specialist. Twenty-six other entries were part of the initial competition.

Judges are told to arrive thirsty because of all the samples they have to rate, she said. Judgments are based on appearance, smell, taste and aesthetics.

Amanda Strommer, a public health planner who helped judge the first round, said differentiating between the samples was difficult, and the judges didn't always agree. In some cases, they had to retaste samples to reach a consensus.

Evansville was one of three that rose to the top, and was selected as the winner during the association's March conference.


Achieving the win was no small task for Evansville, as the aquifer that provides the city's drinking water contains high hardness levels, iron, manganese, naturally occurring arsenic, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia.

City officials have been working to improve water and other city infrastructure for about two decades. The water tower replacement and treatment plant upgrades were completed in November 2019 at a cost of about $3.3 million.

They contracted with engineering firm, APEX, which recommended a better aeration system to remove hydrogen sulfide and a bio-filter to remove naturally occurring ammonia. The bio-filter has led to the city using less chlorine for treatment.

Evansville will now send a water sample to Washington D.C. in February 2021 to represent the State of Minnesota at the National Rural Water Association's annual National Water Taste Test.

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