Drinking water

The 29th annual Oswego County Tap Water Taste Contest, with samples and ballot box seen above at last Thursday's farmers market, has crowned the town of Richland of Richland as champions for the sixth time

OSWEGO — County residents voted the town of Richland as having the best tasting drinking water in Oswego County for the second year in a row.

The award comes via the 29th annual Oswego County Tap Water Taste Contest held last week at the Oswego farmers market and organized by the Oswego County Health Department.

Director of Environmental Health Judy Grandy said the contest recognizes localities that provide a safe supply of water.

“The purpose of the contest is to help remind people of the importance of safe drinking water, and to recognize the work of the certified water operators in our county who provide a safe and adequate supply of water to consumers through compliance with regulations,” Grandy told The Palladium-Times Wednesday. 

Richland took home the win this year successfully retaining their crown as the best tasting tap water in the county, outlasting the village of Pulaski, the village and town of Mexico and the Port City itself, garnering significant support from a pool of 154 voters, more than doubling the 72 votes submitted last year.

The blind taste test labeled samples from A to D; A being water from Richland, B from Oswego, C from Mexico and D from Pulaski.

Voters then chose their second and first choices each garnering one and two points respectively.

“I thought C (Mexico) was the better tasting water,” Port City resident and contest voter Jordan Demm said, noting she chose Mexico as her first choice. “There was no taste to it. You can usually taste chemicals in water, like Fulton, and I can usually tell the difference there. D (Pulaski) had a metallic taste to it.” 

Richland amassed 146 points, with Pulaski coming in second with 121 points. Mexico, 118 points and Oswego, 77 points, round out the top four.

Grandy said the county has notified the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) of this year’s winner and will await results on Richland’s next stop at the Central Regional Contest to be held on Aug. 10. If the town emerges victorious from the regional trial, they will go on to the statewide contest held at the New York State Fair in Syracuse on Aug. 29

Oswego County tap water table

Field 1 Field 2
Oswego County Best Tasting Drinking Water Contest historical chart
Year Contest winner
1991 Mexico*
1992 Mexico
1993 Mexico
1994 Pulaski
1995 Pulaski
1996 Pulaski
1997 Fulton
1998 Pulaski
1999 Mexico
2000 Mexico
2001 Mexico
2002 Mexico*
2003 Pulaski
2004 Mexico
2005 Mexico
2006 Pulaski
2007 Richland
2008 Pulaski
2009 Richland
2010 Pulaski
2011 Pulaski
2012 Pulaski
2013 Mexico
2014 Pulaski
2015 Richland
2016 Richland
2017 Pulaski
2018 Richland
2019 Richland
*Mexico named Best Tasting Drinking Water in New York State (won overall State contest)
Data provided by the Oswego County Health Department

Table of past contest winners since 1991, with data provided by the Oswego County Health Department

Since 1991, only the village and town of Mexico has savored state glory, both in 1991 and in 2002, according to the Oswego County Health Department. 

Pulaski is the winningest public water system, having tasted countywide glory 12 times since 1991, their most recent coming in 2017. Mexico follows closely with 10 victories. Richland is meticulously carving its place in county tap water history with six wins.

“The goal of the Tap Water Taste Contest is to raise public awareness of the value and quality of public drinking water through a fun and friendly non-scientific competition," Grandy, who was present distributing water samples at the contest, said in a release. "Not only do community water systems compete to be acknowledged for their achievements, the contest also provides an opportunity for individuals to learn more about the processes necessary to deliver clean and safe water for public use and consumption."

The Tap Water Taste Contest has been held in New York state since 1986 and is organized by the state Water and Wastewater Education and Outreach Committee.

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