Over 350 licensed water and wastewater operation specialists and elected officials attended four days of education classes at the Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center in Casper this week.

There they held the annual Wyoming Association's "Best Tasting Water" contest.

Judges included Colorado French, Field Staff for U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis, joined by Shelby Johnson with USDA Rural Development in Wyoming, Anthony Prince, Marketing Manager for the National Rural Water Association and Wayne Stewart, Marketing Manager for Visit Casper.

Each year across the country, water systems compete at the state level judged on clarity, odor and taste. Winners of the state contests are invited to attend the National Great American Water Taste contest held each year during the National Rural Water Rally in Washington, DC. Last year, the Town of Chugwater won the state event and represented Wyoming in Washington, DC where they finished in the top 10.

This year’s winner is the Town of Saratoga, marking two victories in the last five years.

Saratoga will represent Wyoming at the national contest in February, 2024. In addition to the invitation to compete, the winners will meet with Wyoming’s congressional delegation to discuss issues and challenges they face in providing quality drinking water for their community or water system in addition to officials with EPA, USDA RD, USDOL and the NRWA.

In addition to sessions on technical issues and industry updates geared towards continuing education to maintain State Licensure, attendees heard from state and federal regulators on rules and regulation updates, emergency response planning strategies, international cyber security experts on Information Technology deterrent strategies, outdoor sessions trained on leak detection, Plant tours at the City of Casper Water and Wastewater Treatment facilities, Wy Department of Health and from Sen. John Barrasso who thanked the attendees for their work to provide clean water to our businesses and homes as well as national legislative updates on Waters of the US and updates on DC items of note to the industry.

Agencies attending and presenting included Wyoming DEQ, USEPA, Wy State Climate Office, USDA RD and Department of Health, in addition to industry experts on current topics of interest.

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