After W.Va. chem spill comes water tasting contest

By By JOHN RABY

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Licorice-smelling water from a chemical fouled the air and tainted the faucets for 300,000 West Virginians last month. Now comes a competition that celebrates water for its lack of taste and odor.

The Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting competition on the other side of the state will hand out awards Saturday night for the best municipal, purified, still and sparkling bottled waters.

No, there's no entry from Charleston, where a Jan. 9 chemical spill tainted the tap water supply in nine counties. But a panel discussion is planned Friday to bring attention to protecting municipal water supplies.

This year's competition includes more than 125 entries. Veteran judge and journalist Mark Kraham says one key to sampling all the entries is to take small sips to save trips to the bathroom.

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