Take the DC Water Taste Test Challenge

City utility bets you can’t tell the difference

NBC Bay Area Chopper

Back in the good old days, when we were in school, nothing was better after a sweaty round of kickball than a long slurp from the hallway water fountain.

Things changed. Soccer replaced kickball in the nation’s schoolyards for reasons that may never be clear. And tap water became passé, albeit with good reason in some cases, such as crumbling pipes leaching brain-damaging lead into the water.  

The plastic water bottle became a third appendage. Everyone carried water everywhere, as if a crossing of the Mojave Desert on foot might be in the offing.

Then bottled water became suspect. Questions about origin, purity, conspicuous consumption and one’s carbon footprint overshadowed the snob appeal of a rectangular bottle of liquid harvested from an artesian well in the South Pacific.

Tap water’s cool again. And DC Water wants you to know it tastes good. Or at least as good as bottled water. Which, in a best-case scenario, tastes like nothing.

The city’s water supplier will conduct its fourth DC Water Taste Test Challenge on Friday.

According to a news release from DC Water:

[Blindfolded] participants will taste water samples and aim to correctly identify the samples as either District tap water or bottled water. The purpose of the taste test is to highlight the benefits of local tap water and discuss the type of water people choose to drink at home. 

So far, about 500 people have taken part in a series of blind taste tests in the District. The results have been about 50-50 so far, said Sarah Neiderer of DC Water.  

“A lot of people think tap water tastes better or they can't taste the difference,” Niederer told NBC Washington.

See for yourself. Take the DC Water Taste Test Challenge Friday between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the Penn Branch Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office at 3220 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.

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