Schenectady County water contest a matter of taste

On Thursday, July 2, municipalities from around Schenectady County including Scotia, Glenville, Rotterdam and Niskayuna will compete for the title of best-tasting water at the Schenectady County Green Market. The winner will go on to the regional competition and if successful, the state finals held at the New York State Fair in Syracuse.

[Each municipality] sets up a table and the public walks by. They can pour out a little Dixie cup of water, and they can sample water from A, B, C, D, and so forth, said Tim Nagel, chief water plant treatment operator for the Town of Niskayuna, which generally comes in third or fourth place each year.

The competition is not exactly a scientific sampling.

"We participate every year. I personally don't get all that excited over it. If you think about it, the person's taste is very subjective," said Nagel.

According to Nagel, there are no regulations for the competition. The water doesn't have to be served at a particular temperature, and it doesn't have to be held in a certain kind of container " both of which can affect the taste of water.

"If someone brought water out of their pool, and it had a very high chlorine content, and then you drank the next town's water, you would still be tasting from the last cup you sampled," said Nagel.

Nagel said the competition does serve a purpose.

"[It raises] public awareness on water, and that's really good. People don't realize how vital water is and how much it's taken for granted," said Nagel.

"Schenectady County is fortunate to have an abundant supply of great tasting water," said Susan Savage, chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature, in a written statement. "This taste test is a chance for each of our towns, villages and the City of Schenectady to compete for the right to say that they have the best tasting water in Schenectady County."

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