While many people prefer pop, coffee or tea, Phyllis Hecht loves to drink water.

“I drink a lot of water,” said Hecht, who moved to Hutchinson in 1967 with her husband, Don. “I have to have good tasting water, and I like the Hutch water.” Don prefers to flavor his water, though.

Opinions about the taste of Hutchinson city water are as vast and varied as the faucet style aisle in a home improvement store. But one common denominator underlies all opinions: When Hutchinson residents turn on the tap, they expect to receive healthy water.

“Water is one of the body’s most essential nutrients,” said Beth VanOverbeke, dietician nutritionist with Hutchinson Health. “It keeps your body temperature constant, transports nutrients and oxygen to your cells. It helps lubricate joints and body tissues like the mouth, eyes and nose.”

Dr. Tom Lyke, dentist with Bryn Gardd Dental Care, said he believes vast improvements in Hutchinson water quality were made when the new water treatment plant was built in 2007.

“From a general health point of view, we now have pretty good water here in Hutchinson,” Lyke said. Still, his dentistry office treats water that is used to rinse teeth with reverse osmosis. Lyke said this practice originated before the new treatment plant, which uses reverse osmosis technology, was constructed.

Providing safe drinking water is a commitment city Water Supervisor Eric Levine doesn’t take lightly.

“It’s important to follow through with the investment the townspeople made,” Levine said. “They invested in the plant. They expect safe, quality water.”

That assertion seems to ring true with the responses of eight Hutchinson residents. Most care about the safety of their drinking water and all said they trust the city is watching out for their health.

Moms Lisa Hoff and Heidi Oleson value safe drinking water for their children.

“(City water) is easy to drink and it’s good for the kids,” Hoff said.

“I wouldn’t want to give them chlorinated water or water filled with particles,” Oleson said.

As the owner of Landy Lodge Bar and Grill, Mark Landreville appreciates the city’s commitment to safe drinking water because he has a responsibility to the health of his customers.

“I’d hate to use unsafe drinking water for cooking and serving my customers, so it’s very important,” he said.

Hutchinson residents LeRoy Albrecht and his daughter, Emily, drink city water all the time.

“It’s good water,” LeRoy said. “You don’t want nitrates. Besides, it’s nice and soft.”

Both Albrechts said they enjoy the taste of city water, but according to LeRoy, nothing beats a cool glass of water from the farm.

“That’s good ol’ well water,” he said.

Sandy Meier and Donna Leifermann said they rarely think about the healthiness of city water.

“I just assume it should be good,” Meier said.

“We’re counting on the city to do it right,” Leifermann said.

But Leifermann also said that safe drinking water isn’t really important to her.

“You gotta die from something,” she said.