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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

DeKalb’s water isn’t best tasting

Olivia Zapf
A gray cup pours water into a sink. DeKalb should not have won the award for ‘Best Tasting Water’ on Jan 26. (Olivia Zapf| Northern Star)

For people who don’t drink bottled water and like to indulge in the city’s tap and fountain water – great news – DeKalb won best tasting water at the Illinois Section American Water Works Association, but it is not well deserved.

To determine who had the best tasting water, the Illinois Section American Water Works Association tested it on the taste, clarity and odor. The DeKalb district beat out other cities in the northeastern Illinois area, such as Rockford, North Park and Moline, according to the City of DeKalb. 

This award may give DeKalb citizens a sense of pride. It’s a small win that says we are better than other cities in our area, at least when it comes to the taste of water. 

The DeKalb public water system serves over 43,000 people, including students at NIU, according to the City of DeKalb’s 2023 Water Quality Report. It’s not only drinking water, but the water we use to wash dishes, take showers and other daily uses.

When it comes to showering and washing clothes, the water seems good and tends to get the job done, but taste-wise it really depends where you go, and it can be hit or miss. 

Does DeKalb deserve the best tasting water award? Students on campus seem to think not.

Brianne Jankowski, a junior technology and design major, believes water quality depends on where you are in DeKalb and was surprised to hear the city won best tasting water.

“Like Egyptian water is really good water, like at the Egyptian Theater,” Jankowski said. “That’s good water. Hometown (Sports Bar & Grill) has decent water. I like drinking their water. But definitely NIU’s specifically not the best.”

Sara Marchese, a first-year early childhood education major, believes water in DeKalb isn’t good.

“It’s not the best. It has, like, a weird taste to it,” Marchese said. “I personally, like, fill up my water bottle up from the sink. So it just has, like, an off taste to it.”

Marchese also finds it hard to believe DeKalb won best tasting water due to her experiences with it having a weird taste.

The bar to win the Illinois Section American Water Works Association’s competition must be low if the major consensus on campus is that the water is bad. If citizens of DeKalb feel our water is bad, and we won, the losing counties’ water must be much worse off. 

While DeKalb has taken home the award of best tasting water, it seems NIU students beg to differ, experiencing poor tasting water. Not all water in DeKalb may really be best tasting.

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