At the Monroe County Water Authority, our job is simple but rarely easy. It’s simple because we are completely focused on delivering pure, clean drinking water to you each and every time you turn on the tap. We have a proven track record of providing clean, fresh water for our customers at reasonable rates. We consistently exceed national standards year after year, because the water we deliver to your home or business is the most important utility service you get. Every time you turn on your tap, you can rest assured that the MCWA is working for you to provide a continuous supply of clean and affordable water. Water that is, “Purely Refreshing.”
Download a pdf of the Annual Water Quality Report here.
2014 Annual Water Quality Report
Public Health Protection
The availability of safe drinking water is one of the greatest public health advances of the 20th century and one of the most important reasons people are living longer. In the United States you can drink safely from virtually any public tap.
A well-maintained water system is critical for fire protection. The ability to suppress fires influences new home construction, business location decisions, insurance rates and your personal safety. MCWA provides and maintains over 25,300 fire hydrants to help protect you and your property.
Support for the Economy
Our homes and businesses cannot do without a safe and reliable water supply. Unlike many places around the world and the U.S., our area is fortunate to have ample water resources.
The Monroe County Water Authority is pleased to provide this report on the quality of our drinking water. The report describes sources, treatment, and test results. This year, as in previous years, our tap water met all New York State and USEPA drinking water standards.
Abundant. Inexpensive. Pure.
The Monroe County Water Authority is the third largest water supplier in New York State, producing and delivering an average of 18 billion gallons of drinking water every year. As a public benefit corporation organized in 1950 under the New York State Public Authorities Law, our sole purpose is to provide you with quality water and reliable service at an affordable price.
Our rates are below the national average and the lowest 25% for northeast U.S. suppliers. It costs an average Authority residential customer about $18.00 a month for all the water they need.
The Monroe County Water Authority's 221 employees are dedicated to providing you all the clean, safe drinking water you need, whenever you need it.
This annual water quality report is being provided to all of our customers in compliance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and New York State Department of Health regulations.
Source and Treatment
Our primary water source is Lake Ontario which is treated at our Shoremont Plant in Greece and our Webster Plant. We also operate the Corfu Plant, a small well supply in the Village of Corfu, and purchase water from the City of Rochester and the Erie County Water Authority (ECWA). The Distribution System Map in this report shows the typical service area for each of the treatment plants. The boundaries between the service areas change day to day as we manage the sources to optimize water delivery to our customers.
The New York State Health Department has evaluated the susceptibility of water supplies statewide to potential contamination under the Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP). In general, the Great Lakes sources used by Shoremont and ECWA are not very susceptible because of the size and quality of the Great Lakes. Hemlock and Canadice Lakes, used by the Hemlock plant, are also not very susceptible because of their size and controlled watersheds. The well water used by the Corfu Plant is more susceptible but the confined nature of the aquifer provides protection against the few nearby potential contaminant sources. Because storm and waste water contamination are potential threats to any source water, the water provided to our customers undergoes rigorous treatment and testing prior to its delivery.
The Shoremont and Webster plants and the purchased water producers all use a similar treatment process: coagulation, filtration and disinfection. Coagulants are added to clump together suspended particles, enhancing their removal during filtration. Chlorine is used to disinfect the water and to provide the residual disinfectant that preserves the sanitary quality of the water as it travels from each plant to your home. Fluoride is also added to help prevent tooth decay. The treatment process at the Corfu Water Plant consists of filtration, softening and disinfection with chlorine.
These plants are in full compliance with all New York State and USEPA operational and monitoring requirements.
For more information on the State's Source Water Assessment plan and how you can help protect the source of your drinking water contact MCWA Customer Service at (585) 442-7200 or check our Source Water Assessment (SWAP) page.
Drinking water sources (both tap and bottled water) include lakes, reservoirs, rivers and streams, springs and wells. As water travels over land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and can pick up substances resulting from animal or human activity. Contaminants that may be present in untreated water include inorganic and organic chemicals, pesticides and herbicides, and radioactive and microbiological contaminants. In order to ensure that your tap water is safe to drink, the State and the USEPA established regulations that set limits on contaminant levels in water provided by public water systems. These limits are known as Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs). The regulations also specify testing, reporting, and public notification requirements for each contaminant. MCWA's monitoring program substantially exceeds USEPA and State Health Department requirements. The Health Department also reviews our operating and monitoring data for compliance and independently monitors our distribution system.
Some constituents we tested for were detected, but at levels well below the allowable MCL. A table of these detected contaminants and a complete water quality summary are provided by each of our sources of supply. It's important to remember all drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that the water poses a health risk. Additional information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the USEPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.
Some people may be more vulnerable to disease-causing microorganisms or pathogens in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as chemotherapy patients, organ transplant recipients, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice from their health care providers about drinking water. EPA/CDC (Center for Disease Control) guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and other microbiological contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800) 426-4791 or the Monroe County Department of Public Health, 111 Westfall Road, Rochester, NY 14620, (585) 753-5057.
Lead in Drinking Water
There is no detectable lead in the water we deliver to your home. It is possible for water to pick up lead from home plumbing solder or fixtures if it sits in the pipes for a long time but our testing indicates this is not a problem for our customers. However, due to problems some water suppliers have had with drinking water lead levels, the USEPA is requiring all water suppliers to include the following educational text in their annual water quality reports:
If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. MCWA is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.
MCWA is one of the many New York water utilities providing drinking water with a controlled, low level of fluoride for consumer dental health protection. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, fluoride is very effective in preventing cavities when present in drinking water at an optimal level of 0.7 mg/L. To ensure optimal dental protection, the State Department of Health requires that we monitor fluoride levels on a daily basis. In 2014 the fluoride levels in your water were within 0.2 mg/L of the CDC's recommended optimal level 85% of the time. The highest monitoring result was 1.4 mg/L, well below the 2.2 mg/L MCL for fluoride. More information on fluoridation can be found here.
Taste and Odor
Sometimes you may find your water tastes or smells like chlorine. The water is safe to drink. We are required to maintain a chlorine residual in the distribution system to prevent the growth of bacteria. To eliminate or reduce the taste of chlorine in your water, simply store tap water in a container overnight in your refrigerator. An inexpensive carbon filter can be used for this also.
Home Treatment Units
There are businesses that sell home treatment units by telling you water supplied by the Monroe County Water Authority is not safe. Save your money. The water we provide is consistently better than the drinking water regulations require and we can prove it.
Lake Ontario provides an abundance of water to the communities we serve and our customers greatly benefit by having this natural resource close to home. However, it takes power to treat and move the water to your houses. Therefore, conserving energy is helpful to providing clean, safe water to you.
Although our water rates are below the national average, no one wants to pay for water that is wasted whether by accident or on purpose. To save water, fix leaky faucets and toilets promptly, replace washers when garden hoses start to drip, and water your lawn in the early morning. After 10 a.m. the sun's heat draws water from the lawn through evaporation. When you water early, you can water less because more of the water is absorbed into the lawn.
UCMR 3 - Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule
Every few years the USEPA issues a new list of up to 30 unregulated contaminants for which public water systems must monitor. The intent of this rule is to provide baseline occurrence data that the EPA can combine with toxicological research to make decisions about potential future drinking water regulations. MCWA completed monitoring for the third list (UCMR 3) in 2014.
Previous Year's Water Quality Information
For historical information on previous year's water quality information click here.
For More Information
If you have questions about this report, your bill, or Monroe County Water Authority operations, call Customer Service at (585) 442-7200.