By Tamas Mondovics

With the bold statement of “On the hunt for the best drinking water? Bag the bottled stuff. Put away the Perrier,” Hillsborough County Public Utilities Water Services claimed top honors for the best tap water in a regional contest sponsored by the Florida Section of the American Water Works Association (FSAWWA).

With samples of high-quality water produced by the Lake Park Water Treatment Plant, the Hillsborough County Public Utilities Department emerged last month as a winner ahead of 13 other competitors in the FSAWWA Region IV’s annual water-tasting contest.

Region IV includes Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sumter counties.

“We take great pride in providing an outstanding product at all of our water plants,” said Paul Kavanagh, manager of the Lake Park Water Treatment Plant. “We’re absolutely elated to earn this distinction, and I am very proud and honored.”

Judges, who have scrutinized each entry for taste, smell and color, included representatives from the Southwest Florida Water Management District, the University of South Florida, the City of Temple Terrace, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The Lake Park Water Treatment Plant, located on North Dale Mabry Hwy., provides an average of more than 8 million gallons of water a day to approximately 182,000 people in northwest Hillsborough County.

The win comes also in the wake of the department’s efforts to improve the water quality, scheduling work in connection with pipeline projects that will loop and eliminate dead-end lines as well as the need of its periodic flushing throughout the county.

According to Public Utilities Department spokesperson, Michelle Van Dyke, the department has been busy.

“Water in these lines can stagnate, causing poor odor and taste,” Van Dyke said. “Utility crews must regularly flush the dead-end lines, at the cost of using large amounts of water and labor. Replacing such lines is an important part of the improvement as well as maintaining water quality.”

Hillsborough County will go on to compete against 11 other FSAWWA regional winners in a statewide contest on Tuesday, April 30 during the Florida Water Resources Conference in Orlando.

For more information about the County water services, please visit


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