WASHINGTON, D.C. – With a wide smile Mike Hoeft, a Water System Operations Specialist from Aspen Pines Water and Sewer District in Wyoming, walked to the stage and accepted the Gold Medal award for the Nation’s best-tasting water at the Great American Water Taste Test on Feb. 8. The Taste Test is held annually as part of the National Rural Water Association’s Rural Water Rally in Washington, D.C.
“I collected this sample myself,” Hoeft said. “We’ve won several taste tests and every time I was the one who collected the sample.”
Hoeft explained that the water has great taste because it requires no treatment. The water is drawn from a series of deep wells.
Moroe, Utah won the Silver Award and Franklin, Ken. earned the Bronze. The five finalists also included Steele, N.D. and Consolidated Baseyards Public Water System 258 from Wailuku, Hawaii, which won the first ever taste test hosted by the Hawaii Rural Water Association.
The five finalists were selected from a field of 39 water samples submitted from across the nation. Each state rural water association holds their own taste test and winners are eligible to compete in the national competition. Finalists are selected in a preliminary round, with the finals judged by a panel of expert guest judges. This year’s panel included U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Deputy Staff Director Fitzhugh Elder, IV; Joe Gilson, a member of the Donald J. Trump administration working in the USDA; USDA Water and Environmental Programs Senior Engineer Nicole Schindler; USDA Water and Environmental Programs Community Programs Specialist Lisa Chesnel; and USDA Rural Development Archaeologist Basia Howard.
Judges rated each water sample based on its clarity, bouquet and taste.
Video recordings and photo galleries of the Taste Test are available below.