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Chicago water floats to top among big cities

Updated: July 23, 2013 6:12AM

Chicago was ranked No. 1 for having the best drinking water among major metropolitan areas, according to Purdex LLC, an independent drinking water certification company.

Chicago had a score of 783, far above the worst-ranking big city, Los Angeles, which had a score of 101. New York City came in at 638.

Based on federal standards and an algorithm developed by Purdex, and confirmed by the department of biostatistics at Harvard University’s School of Public Health, the Purdex score ranked public water systems on a scale from 0 to 1,000. The higher the score, the better the water.

Factors that went into the equation, Purdex says, included how it matched with the federally mandated maximum allowable levels in drinking water of different contaminants, as well as how it rated for such factors as taste, odor and color.

Purdex based its data on what they got from the public water systems.

Michael Keegan, co-founder of Purdex with his twin brother, said generally what sets a city apart with clean water are two things.

“It depends on the water source,” Keegan said. “It also largely depends on the water department’s ability and equipment and budget and money — all of those things combined to create a water treatment facility that can remove the bad contaminants.”

Purdex has been rating water for nine years, but said this was the first time it was done by metropolitan area instead of by state for consumers.

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