Results of federally required testing of the city's drinking water have Provo officials boasting of some of the cleanest water in the country.

"Best water west of New Jersey," pronounced Mayor Joe Jenkins as the test results were reported to the City Council.The city tested water samples taken from 23 points throughout Provo's culinary water system for chemicals. The tests are required by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act as amended in 1986, said Public Works Director Merrill Bingham.

None of the 59 chemicals the Environmental Protection Agency requires cities to monitor in drinking water were detected in the Provo samples. The city voluntarily tested for another 23 chemicals the EPA does not require to be monitored, and none of those was detected either, Bingham said.

The detection level for most of the 83 compounds the city tested for is one-half part per billion. For some of the chemicals, current technology allowed testing for detection levels measured in parts per trillion.

Bingham described a measurement of one part per billion as roughly equivalent to an eighth of an inch of the total width of the United States from East Coast to West Coast.

"We wanted to find out where we stood in the quality of our drinking water," Bingham said. "We're fortunate our sources of supply are not susceptible to chemical contamination."

One of the few potential water-contamination threats the city does face is from leaking underground gasoline storage tanks, he said. No leaking tanks have been identified in Provo, but Jenkins recently appointed a task force to examine and report on the possible extent of that threat.

Most of the city's water supply comes from springs and wells in Provo Canyon.