Canaan Fire District #2 Headed to Great American Water Taste Test

Canaan Fire District #2 won the title of best tasting water in Vermont during a statewide competition in 2023. Now it will compete in a national water taste test in Washington, D.C. on February 7.

There must be something special about the drinking water in Canaan. Last year, Canaan Fire District #1 represented Vermont in the national taste test after winning the statewide competition in 2022.

“It is an honor to have two systems that produce such good tasting water,” said April Busfield, the chief operator at both Canaan Fire District #1 and #2.

April Busfield (second from right) and representatives from Vermont Rural Water met with Senator Peter Welch in Washington, D.C. last year.

Fire District #2 is the smaller of Canaan’s two drinking water systems, serving about 350 residents in Beecher Falls as well as about 20 connections in the northern part of Stewartstown, N.H. The fire district was originally constructed by the Ethan Allen Factory but is now operated by the Town of Canaan.

Canaan Fire District #2 is a groundwater system. It treats with sodium hydroxide for corrosion control and hypochlorite for disinfection. 

Since taking over, the town has invested in the water system’s infrastructure, including upgrading the distribution system, piping in the well house, and electrical components, as well as installing telemetry for remote monitoring.

“I have worked in other towns, and it can often be difficult to get what you need to support and manage water and wastewater systems due to budgetary constraints,” April said. “Canaan always looks out for the taxpayers, but they also look out for their infrastructure and take care of it now, so it does not cost more down the road.”

April credits the town’s commissioners and employees for the back-to-back wins at the Vermont taste test. “It is an honor to have two systems that produce such good tasting water. It is saying something for the water quality in the area and the amount of work the precincts take to deliver that water to their customers.”

Judges at the Vermont Drinking Water Taste Test during Vermont Rural Water’s conference in 2023.

Vermont’s Drinking Water Taste Test was organized by the Vermont Drinking Water Week Committee in May 2023. “The judges had a difficult task with many outstanding entries [in 2023], but it’s clear that Canaan has delicious water as our winner for two years in a row,” said Laura Woodard, chair of the Vermont Drinking Water Week Committee. “We wish you the best of luck representing Vermont at the Great American Water Taste Test!”

The National Rural Water Association holds the Great American Water Taste Test each year during the Rural Water Rally. There has never been a winner from Vermont, though Farmington, N.H. was a finalist in last year’s competition.

April will be travelling to Washington, D.C. for the contest. While there, she and several of Vermont Rural Water’s board members will meet with Vermont’s congressional delegation to talk about the needs of our state’s drinking water and wastewater systems.