continued “It has got to be cold,” Close said. “They all have to be the same temperature for it to be a fair test.”
Competition participants are instructed to deliver their water sample in some way to keep it cold, such as in a cooler with ice. Some participants also chose a glass jug to hold the water while others used plastic.
“Some of them had an aftertaste and some didn’t,” said Robert Cherry of Albany. His first-place choice was Bethlehem, with Latham garnering second.
“(Bethlehem) and (Latham) were the best in terms of how cool and how good they taste,” Cherry said.
The competition was a blind taste test, meaning samples were identified by a letter to prevent any bias. Each first-place pick was awarded two points and a second-place choice earned a sample one point.
Mary Rozak, spokeswoman for County Executive Dan McCoy, broke down the points awarded to the first and second place. Guilderland had 15 first-place votes and five second-place votes. Latham had fewer first-place votes at 10, but nabbed 11 second-place votes.
Kristin McGrath, of Cohoes, chose Guilderland as her top choice and Green Island as her second. She said she likes her tap water in Cohoes and assumed it was one of her top choices.
“They tasted the cleanest,” McGrath said. “There was no aftertaste.”
Stephanie Collins, of Albany, said she could taste a difference between the samples, but her two choices, Green Island and Guilderland, in that order, tasted “pure.”
“Better than bottled water, too,” Collins added.
McIntyre said Guilderland has blended water because its main sources are two town wells and water purchased from the City of Watervliet’s reservoir, which is actually located in Guilderland but owned by the city. During peak periods, the town also purchases water from Albany.
“We strive to produce the best tasting water we can and most plant operators do that,” McIntyre said. “It is just some have a better water source than others and it depends on their distribution system and how old it is.”
He said Guilderland has just as much of a chance at taking the title of best tasting drinking water in the state as any other municipality. He will wait and “see where the chips fall,” but is optimistic the town could win.
“I’d like to say it is something we are best at or top of line, but it varies from the types of plants to filtration,” he said.