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RACINE - The city's tap water has been hailed as the best tasting city water in the country, beating out four other finalists and netting $15,000 for Racine to publicize its water.

In a blind taste test, nearly 100 mayors selected Racine's water out of the finalists, including Albany, N.Y.; Denton, Texas; Rochester, N.Y.; and Pembroke Pines, Fla., according to a press release Monday from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, an advocacy and leadership organization for cities with populations of more than 30,000, which facilitated the contest. The taste test was held during the organization's annual meeting last weekend in Baltimore.

Racine's water comes from Lake Michigan and gets filtered through a system of about 120 million straws. The water also gets additions like chlorine for disinfection, potassium permanganate to eliminate any "fishy" taste or odor and powder-activated carbon to remove earthy or musty tastes, said Mike Kosterman, Racine water plant superintendent.

Mayor John Dickert said the $15,000 will be used to attract companies that use large quantities of water to Racine, where the price of water is also competitive to elsewhere in the country.

Dickert said he talked with executives of Coca-Cola at the conference to tell them of Racine's great tasting water as well as the large quantities available here if they were interested in moving or expanding their operations.

The award money, he said, will be a great lead-in for such conversations and other opportunities to promote Racine for its tap water around the country.

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