HR Blog
When it comes to water quality, Grand Junction has the best in the country. Grand Junction recently took home second place in the American Water Works Association’s Best of the Best Water Taste Test Competition, held in Toronto, Canada. Trained water flavor profilers scrutinized the entries during a blind taste test akin to wine tasting. More than two dozen winners of regional competitions competed for the coveted award. The competition's first-place winner was the City of Miramichi in New Brunswick, Canada. “Which means we won first place in the United States,” said Randi Kim, the utilities director for the City of Grand Junction. 

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Kim has overseen the City of Grand Junction's water and wastewater systems for nearly six years. In fall 2022, some of the staff in the water division entered water samples into a regional contest. “We were part of the Rocky Mountain section, and we got first place for our region, which qualified us for the North American competition in Toronto,” she said. “It was the first time we had ever entered, and the first time was the charm.”

Creek on the Grand Mesa

Kim’s staff didn’t tell her ahead of time they were vying for the regional award, and she didn’t attend the conference where it was announced. “They texted me a picture of the award. It was a complete surprise to win,” Kim said, though her team’s initiative in entering the contest wasn’t surprising at all, considering their passion for their careers and for making the City’s water the very best it can be. 

What exactly accounts for the high-quality water enjoyed by Grand Junction residents? “We are lucky to have a very pristine source,” she said. “Our water comes from Kannah Creek on top of the Grand Mesa. We are the first users of that water. It’s high-quality water, to begin with.” 

Grand Mesa Lake

“It takes a lot of work to manage the water supply, treat it, and distribute it to residents,” she said. “We manage 19 reservoirs on the Grand Mesa and two 20-mile pipelines that bring the water down to the water treatment plant in Orchard Mesa. At the plant, the water is treated in a fairly simple process – low levels of sediment are filtered out through multiple filters and sodium hydrochloride (essentially bleach) is added. The water department holds the water to even higher standards for turbidity – the measure of how many solids are in the water – than regulations require. 

Creek on the Grand Mesa

The staff is very proactive as well. In the past year, they noticed the water in the largest reservoir, Juanita Reservoir, had higher than usual magnesium levels. “That can cause color and issues in the water, so our staff took a proactive step and installed a liquid oxygen system that injects oxygen into the reservoir to improve the water quality,” she said. “We do so many things like that which take our water to a higher standard than what’s even required.” That’s just one of the many things Kim enjoys about her job. 

“We have super dedicated employees and staff who are very committed to providing the best service to customers and being great members of our community. I couldn’t be more happy working with my teams at all levels across the City. They all have super professional, dedicated attitudes. And they really take pride in their work making sure we provide a valued service to our community.”

Grand Mesa Scenic Overlook

Before working for the City of Grand Junction, Kim worked for two utilities in Florida, one in the St. Petersburg area and one located in the county that encompasses Tampa. While she has lived in many different parts of the U.S., she never lived west of the Mississippi. “We knew we wanted to move to a smaller, more livable City, and somewhere that didn’t have natural disasters,” Kim said. “We also knew we wanted to live in a place that was close to national parks and beautiful places.” 

They made a short list of cities and cross-referenced it with job opportunities for Kim since her husband was already retired. When a position with the City of Grand Junction popped up, she jumped on it. After a virtual interview, Kim’s in-person interview was delayed because of an impending hurricane. “I was on the emergency response team and couldn’t leave,” she remembered. “They were so patient with me.”

Grand Mesa Lake

When she finally was able to travel to Grand Junction in November, she stayed downtown where the Christmas lights twinkled above Main Street, and she dined at the local restaurants that impressed her. “It was so pretty, and everyone was so friendly,” she said. “I looked around at the beautiful mountains, and I called my husband and said ‘You’re going to really like it out here. It’s very comfortable and has a cool vibe.’” In a single word: Perfect. Just like the water. 

 

To learn more about what it is like working for the City of Grand Junction, visit this link. If you’re looking for career opportunities with the City of Grand Junction, check out the job board.