Rotterdam’s water went from zero to hero Tuesday when it earned the title of best tasting water in New York state.
The town’s water was tasted by more than 200 fairgoers during the competition at the New York State Fair in Syracuse, and Rotterdam received more votes than the other four competitors — the city of Canandaigua, the village of Remsen, the village of Malone and the city of White Plains — which represented their respective regions. Remsen was the runner-up.
“It’s certainly a great honor,” Rotterdam Town Supervisor Harry Buffardi said. “I know everyone is spectacularly happy in our water department that we overcame such a difficult situation earlier in the year with all the water main breaks we had.”
The win followed a spree of water main breaks in the town this summer. Four major breaks on June 30 left much of the town’s residents without drinking water for days, and an Aug. 9 break caused some streets to be flooded.
In the wake of the damage, the town is considering vast upgrades to its nearly 60-year-old water system of pipes. In February, the Town Board raised the flat water fee from $25 to $75 in order to fund a new wellhead on Rice Road.
Buffardi said he wouldn’t call the win a comeback.
“Certainly water is our most precious resource,” he said. “We have 3 trillion gallons of clean, pure, wonderful water in our aquifer, so it’s a credit to those people who pump it out of the ground and treat it and deliver it to our residents.”
The town sits atop the Great Flats Aquifer, which also supplies water to surrounding municipalities.
The 28th annual statewide competition, called the New York State Tap Water Taste Contest, was sponsored by the Department of Health and the Water and the Wastewater Education and Outreach Committee, which consists of state and local government agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency and other groups.
The non-scientific competition is meant to highlight the importance of water taste and quality. Rotterdam won the county and regional competitions on July 24 to get to the final round.
Department of Health Commissioner Howard Zucker congratulated Rotterdam on behalf of the state.
“Having great-tasting tap water encourages the healthy habit of consuming water,” Zucker said in a news release. “That is good for the person drinking it, for their wallet for their health and for the environment.”