Click on the topic below to expand FAQs
Where is the Water Authority located?
The Water Authority is located at 475 Norris Drive, Rochester, New York 14610. Click on the "view larger map" link for directions.
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What is the difference between Monroe County Water Authority, Rochester Water Works and Pure Waters?
- Monroe County Water Authority (MCWA) is an Authority created by New York State statute to supply clean water to residential, commercial and industrial customers outside of the City of Rochester.
- Rochester Water Works (RWW), a Bureau of the City's Department of Environmental Services, supplies clean water within the City limits.
- Pure Waters is a Division of Monroe County's Department of Environmental Services. They treat the waste water collected in sanitary and storm sewers.
How do I apply for a job with the Water Authority?
The Monroe County Civil Service Commission governs employment with the MCWA. There are three classes of employment:
- Competitive: Covers most positions at the Authority. Employees are selected from an eligible list based on a competitive test given by the Monroe County Civil Service Commission. Contact the County of Monroe Human Resources Department, County Office Building, 39 W. Main St., Rochester, New York 14614 for notices of upcoming exams and eligibility requirements
- Labor and Non-Competitive: Covers a small number of positions. No examination is required, and applications can be obtained at our General Offices, 475 Norris Drive, Rochester, New York 14610
The Monroe County Water Authority is an Equal Opportunity Employer
What is the MCWA's service area?
Where does my water come from?
How much storage capacity does the Authority have?
We can store over 130 million gallons, which can meet up to three days of usage.
How does a water tower work?
Water towers store water for use at a later time. They are filled at night when demand is low and make water available when demand is high. Building towers high off the ground enables us to supply reliable water pressure to customers. For a diagram, visit How Stuff Works. Click to see how a water storage tank is constructed.
Why are antennas on top of some water towers?
MCWA leases space on water towers to cellular carriers, which provides additional revenue and helps keep our rates low.
Who is responsible for the water lines to my house?
MCWA maintains the water meter and the water service line from the water main to the outside shut-off valve. Homeowners are responsible for the service from the curb box to the house, including inside shut-off valves.
Is it okay to plant near the curb box?
No. Plants, trees, shrubs or permanent fixtures can impede our ability to service your lines. It is recommended that you call Dig|Safely. New York at (800) 962-7962 before doing work at or near the right-of-way so that the utility companies can mark the location of their service lines.
How long will my water be off during repairs?
It depends on the work being performed. About 50% of all breaks are fixed within four hours, and 90% are fixed within eight hours. Call (585) 442-7200 for information on your repair.
Why wasn't I notified before my water was shut off?
Sometimes there isn't time to notify customers in the event of emergency situations or threats to public safety. We will notify you for pre-scheduled repair work.
Why are colored stakes, flags or paint marks on my lawn or sidewalk?
They show the location of utilities in that area. We are required by law to mark our water lines any time a contractor will be excavating within 15' of our mains. When these markers appear, it means excavation work has been scheduled or has recently been completed. Different colors are used to indicate the location of different utilities:
|blue = water
|red = electric
|yellow = gas
|orange = TV and cable
|green = sewer
Who do I call if I'm installing a swimming pool, fence or a sprinkler system in my yard?
Call Dig|Safely. New York at (800) 962-7962 to notify all utilities (including MCWA) to stake lines before you dig.
If you are installing a lawn sprinkler system, contact our Backflow Department (585) 442-2000 to insure you are in compliance with NYS and County Health regulations.
When is grading and seeding done to repair damages?
Lawn repairs are weather dependent. Our goal is to repair all damage from the previous season by July 1. If damage takes place during the planting season, we wait a minimum of two to three weeks for the ground to settle before making permanent repairs.
When are pavement patches made?
The process depends on weather and ground condition. Usually, we install a temporary patch and allow the ground to settle for a minimum of two to three weeks before a permanent patch is made. Large jobs may be delayed until spring since we must obtain patching material from asphalt batch plants, which are often closed from November through April.
How can I prepare for winter?
Don't let winter sneak up on you! Remember: a frozen water meter and/or frozen pipes are not only inconvenient, they can be expensive. Here are a few tips to keep your water flowing freely all winter.
Check your outside faucets:
- Disconnect all hoses from outside faucets
- Shut off and drain all outside faucets and lawn sprinkler systems OR
- If you don't have a separate shut-off valve for outside faucets, protect them with insulated covers. You'll find covers at hardware and building supply stores.
- Close all windows and doors near water lines
- Caulk around pipes where they enter the house.
- Close foundation vents not needed for residential use.
- Seal cracks in basement, crawl space, and other outside walls.
- Wrap pipes in unheated areas with weatherproof insulation or heat tape products
Protect the water meter:
- If your water meter is in an unheated area or near drafts from outdoors, insulate it to keep it from freezing.
NOTE: Customers are responsible for the replacement cost of a meter damaged due to freezing.
What to do if your pipes freeze:
- Locate your main shut-off valve. If a water line has broken or split, you don't want to waste time looking for the shut-off when the water begins flowing again!
- Test the shut-off to make sure it's working. (If you can't locate the main shut-off or it won't operate, call our Customer Service Department at 442-7200.)
- Find where the pipe is frozen. Look in unheated areas where pipe insulation is loose or missing.
- Open a faucet downstream of the frozen area to provide an outlet for the water after thawing.
- Thaw the pipe using a hair dryer on the low-heat setting. Move the dryer back and forth across the frozen section. Be patient! This is a slow process.
- NEVER USE AN OPEN FLAME TO THAW A FROZEN LINE!!
- If none of your faucets work and you can't find where the lines are frozen, it's possible your service line is frozen. Call Customer Service to arrange for a serviceman to visit the property.
- If the service line is frozen between the water main and the outside shut-off valve (curb stop), our MCWA serviceman will thaw the line. There is no charge for this service, unless it happens more than one time in the same season.
- If the service line is frozen within your property, thawing the line is your responsibility.
Take a few minutes to prepare your home for winter and avoid these problems!
Who has permission to open a fire hydrant?
Hydrants are provided for fire protection, with special permits issued for other legitimate uses. Unauthorized or improper hydrant use can result in damage to the system, possibly creating a problem if it were needed in an emergency. If you have concerns about who is using a hydrant or how it is being used, call (585) 442-7200.
My water looks dirty. How can I get it to clear up?
Run cold water* for 10 to 15 minutes from one faucet. When the cold water no longer looks dirty, turn on the hot water and run it until the water is clear. If the water does not clear up by then, call Customer Service (585) 442-7200 or after Business Hours: (585) 442-2009.
*By not running the hot water initially, you'll keep discolored water out of the hot water tank.
Why is my water milky colored?
Milky colored water is often caused by air in the water. Confirm this by checking for bubbles rising to the top of a glass of water. To remove air from the line, run a faucet at the highest location in the house for about 15 minutes. If the problem persists, call Customer Service (585) 442-7200 or after Business Hours: (585) 442-2009.
What are the white particles clogging my faucets?
Sometimes the plastic filler tube on certain water heaters breaks down into granules that look like powdered soap. It's most likely to happen with water heaters manufactured between 1993 and 1996. According to manufacturers, the problem has been solved. Affordable, easy-to-install replacements are available.
Why is my water running slowly?
If the problem is only with one faucet, it may be a plugged faucet filter screen. Clean or replace the screen.
If more than one faucet has low pressure, check the following:
- Shut-off Valve: Make sure the valve is open all the way.
- Supply Line: If other houses in your area are experiencing the same problem, call Customer Service (585) 442-7200.
- Pressure Regulator: A plumber can test and replace the valve.
How do I check for toilet leaks?
- Put a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. If after an hour food coloring appears in the toilet bowl, you have a leak. Replace the stopper in the tank to fix the problem.
- Remove the lid from the tank and flush the toilet. Once the tank is filled listen or look for water still running. Put a little powder in the tank to check if water level is rising above the overflow pipe. If the powder disappears, water is leaking. Adjust or replace the float to fix the problem.
Where is my shut-off valve located?
It is about three feet off the floor near the meter, located on the wall facing the street where the water service pipe enters the building.
How can I make safe drinking water in an emergency?
Boiling is the surest way to make water safe to drink. A vigorous boil for one minute will kill any disease-causing microorganisms in water.
What is water hardness?
Water hardness is a measure of the mineral content of water. MCWA water is considered moderately hard and contains between 5.6 and 7.6 grains per gallon of Total Hardness (100 to 125 milligrams per liter).
Do I need a water softener?
No. A water softener isn't necessary for water with moderate hardness.
Why is my water fluoridated?
Water provided by the MCWA contains a controlled, low level of fluoride (about 0.7 parts per million) as recommended by the EPA to help prevent cavities.
Is there lead in my water?
Lead is not in the public water supply when it leaves our treatment plants. However, lead might enter your water if it sits for long periods of time in private plumbing lines that have either lead solder or fixtures containing lead. Running the water for 15 to 30 seconds will clear out any lead that may be present in the water.
Although there is no detectable lead in the water that we deliver to your house, if you would like to have your drinking water tested to determine if your plumbing is contributing lead to your water, two state-certified laboratories that offer lead testing are listed below:
1565 Jefferson Rd.
Bldg 300, Suite 360
Rochester, NY 14623
Life Science Laboratories LSL Finger Lakes
16 N. Main Street
P.O. Box 424
Wayland, NY 14572
Do you use Chloramines to treat the water?
MCWA uses chlorine, not chloramine, to treat your drinking water.
How can I get a copy of the MCWA Water Quality Report?
Request a copy by contacting the MCWA Customer Service office (585) 442-7200, or click here to print a copy of the Water Quality Report.
Has my water been shut off for non-payment?
If you have previously received a delinquency notice and have not made arrangements with us, your service probably has been shut off. Call Customer Service (585) 442-7200 during normal business hours to set up service restoration.
If your account is current, your water may be off for emergency repair work. If water is off due to a main repair the length of time you will be without water depends on the work being performed: 50% of all breaks are fixed in four hours or less, 90% are fixed within eight hours. Call (585) 442-7200 to get an approximate time.
How do I get water service to my house?
Call the Engineering Department, (585) 442-2000 ext. 273, during normal business hours to arrange for service.
How often am I billed?
MCWA issues bills to residential customers on a quarterly basis. The bills are generated by customer reads, meter reader or estimate if a read has not been received by the billing date.
How can I pay my bill?
There are several ways to pay your water bill:
Note: MCWA does not have an agreement with any company other than Kubra for online bill payment services. Payments made online through a company other than Kubra are made at your own risk. If you choose to submit your water bill payment online through third-party bill payment services other than Kubra, MCWA will not know that you used a third-party online bill payment service, and may not receive your payment on time due to the procedures and processing timelines of each such third-party bill payment service. Please be aware that the MCWA will impose standard late fees for any payments not received in a timely manner.
How are rental properties billed?
The owner of a property is responsible for the payment of all bills. The Authority, at its option and as a courtesy to the owner, may send bills in care of the occupant. In the event of a tenant default, the owner shall be held responsible for the payment of all bills. To request sending the bills for your property in care of the occupant, please call Customer Service at 585-442-7200.
What is a mailer card, and how do I get one?
A mailer card is a request for you to provide us with a reading. It is automatically sent three weeks before billing unless your meter is scheduled to be read by the Authority.
How do I enter meter reads?
Meter reads can be entered online, mailed to the Authority or called in to either Customer Service (585) 442-7200 or our automated system (585) 442-3034.
How do I use the Meter Read Call in System?
- Record the numbers exactly as they appear on the meter, including zeroes.
- Call (585) 442-3034 and enter your account number (located on the meter read card). Press the # key on the phone.
- Enter the first four numbers of the meter read, including all zeroes. Press the # key on the phone. It is not necessary to enter the last three digits.
Note: Customers with cubic foot meters should follow the instructions included with the meter read card.
Why is MCWA changing my water meter?
MCWA has a meter change program in place to ensure both the customer and MCWA are receiving the most accurate registration of the water usage. Water meters can lose accuracy as they age and typically need to be replaced every 20 years.
- Does this mean my bill will increase?
Not necessarily. In some cases, your bill may increase, but only if your former (current) meter was underregistering usage.
- What will it cost me to have the meter changed?
Nothing. MCWA absorbs the cost of the meter change in order to improve the efficiency of the meter reading and billing process.
- Who completes the work and how long does it take?
The meters are changed by the Water Authority’s Meter Services employees and the meter change usually takes about 15 minutes.
- What type of meter will be installed?
The Water Authority is currently installing a Neptune E-Coder R900i Radio Frequency Meter.
- What are the benefits of installing a Radio Frequency Meter?
- It eliminates the need for a meter reader to enter the property to obtain readings, other than periodic meter inspections.
- It eliminates the need for the customer to read the meter and be responsible for supplying the read to the Authority.
- It eliminates estimated reads or manual reading errors.
- It provides other useful data that can help identify and resolve issues such as unusually high use or leaks. The radio meters have the ability to log data, which can provide you up to a 90-day history report of your use, helping you pinpoint the timeframe and cause of a leak or high use period. Our Customer Service Department can offer tips on how to search these leaks out, or they can schedule a technician to stop out to assist you in identifying the leak or reviewing the data log information.
Can I see my bill online?
You may view your bill online by signing up for our Meter Read Input System.
How can I get my account balance or check when my payment was received?
Check your account information online, or call Customer Service (585) 442-7200, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
How can I change my billing address?
Call Customer Service (585) 442-7200, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
What do I need to do if I am moving?
Contact Customer Service (585) 442-7200 before your closing date with the following information:
- closing date
- name of new owner
- your new billing address
- name of the attorney(s) handling the closing
- meter read on the date of closing (if the meter is not accessible, notify Customer Service (585) 442-7200
What if I will be away for an extended period of time?
There are two options:
- Call Customer Service at (585) 442-7200, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, to schedule an appointment to shut your water off and remove your water meter. A total charge of $75.00 covers the shut off, meter removal, and restoration of service.
- A vacation billing plan is available for residential customers who will be away for a minimum of three months. A bill is sent for the Base Charge Only (determined by meter size. If you wish to participate, call Customer Service at 442-7200 or fill out the form and submit by e-mail, mail or fax (585) 442-0220.
If you will be gone for more than six months, we request a meter read once every six months to detect leaks or internal plumbing problems at the property.
What should I do before I leave for an extended time?
If you don't need water for your heating system or humidifier while you're away, we recommend you shut off the main water supply to the house. Your shut-off valve is located on the pipe near the water meter. After turning the water off, drain any remaining water in the pipes.
What should I do for an unheated seasonal residence?
To reduce the chances of a frozen meter or burst pipes, Authority personnel should shut off your water at the outside valve and remove your meter. A total charge of $75.00 covers the shut off, meter removal and restoration of service in the spring.
Why is there a customer code on my bill?
Your customer code is printed in the upper right hand corner of your water bill. The code is intended to protect your identity. You will be asked to provide your account number and your customer code in order to receive personal information on your water account or to make changes to your account.