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JEA wins 2012 region best tasting drinking water

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – JEA has been awarded as the winner of the 2012 Region II Best Drinking Water Taste Test, an annual drinking water taste test competition sponsored by the American Water Works Association.

The taste test is held at each of Florida's 12 regions. Region II includes Duval, Clay, Nassau, St. Johns, Putnam and Flagler counties. Those regional winners compete at the state level in Tallahassee, with the state winner invited to submit samples for the national Best of the Best Water Taste Test.

Seven utilities entered the Region II contest this year: City of Atlantic Beach, St. Johns County, Putnam County, Palm Coast Utilities, City of St. Augustine, Welaka and JEA. The taste test sample has to be collected within 24 hours of the judging, must be served at room temperature and the utility cannot have had any state or federal drinking water violations in the past calendar year.

The four judges in the blind taste test this year included two officials from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and two from the St. Johns River Water Management District. The winner was announced and trophy presented by Florida Section Chair Rick Ratcliffe to JEA's Mike Richardson, water operations planner-scheduler. JEA has won the event three times previously in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

JEA's water system consists of 136 artesian wells tapping the Floridan aquifer, which is one of the world's most productive aquifers. Water is distributed through 36 water treatment plants and 4,208 miles of water lines.

JEA is the eighth-largest community-owned electric utility in the United States and one of the largest water and sewer utilities in the nation providing electric, water and sewer service to more than 875,000 accounts in northeast Florida.