Only Tap Water DELIVERS!
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 27,350 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 United States, 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 21 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.
Many communities have been unable or unwilling to make the investments necessary to maintain their water systems. That’s not the case with the Monroe County Water Authority. In 2022 we invested $22.37 million in infrastructure improvements. Our rates are still below the national average and in the lowest 25% of northeast U.S. suppliers. It costs an average Authority residential customer about $28 a month for all the water they need.
The Monroe County Water Authority’s 205 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 (NYSDOH) regulations.
Source and Treatment
Our primary water source is Lake Ontario, one of North America’s five Great Lakes. Surface water is treated at our Shoremont Plant in Greece and at our Webster Plant in Webster. We also operate the Corfu Plant, a small groundwater source supply in the Village of Corfu, and purchase water from the city of Rochester (Rochester) and the Erie County Water Authority (ECWA). All the water sources we use are located within the Great Lakes watershed area. The Service Area 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 Department of Health 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 MCWA and ECWA are not very susceptible because of the size and quality of the Great Lakes. Hemlock and Canadice Lakes, sources for Rochester’s Hemlock Plant, are not very susceptible because of their size and controlled watersheds. The groundwater aquifer source used by the Corfu Plant is more susceptible, but the confined nature of the aquifer provides protection against the few nearby potential contamination sources. Because storm and wastewater contamination are potential threats to any source water, the water provided to our customers undergoes rigorous treatment and testing prior to its delivery to our customers.
The Shoremont and Webster plants and the purchased water producers all use a similar treatment process that includes pH adjustment, coagulation, filtration and disinfection. Coagulants are added to clump together suspended particles in the source waters, enhancing their removal during filtration. Chlorine is used to disinfect the water and to provide the residual disinfectant that preserves the quality of the water as it travels from each plant to your home. Fluoride is added to help prevent tooth decay. The treatment process at the Corfu Water Plant consists of filtration, softening and disinfection with chlorine. These water treatment plants operate in full compliance with all the NYSDOH and USEPA regulatory requirements that apply.
For more information on the SWAP and how you can help protect the source of your drinking water contact MCWA Customer Service at (585) 442-7200.
Last year, as in years past, your tap water met all federal and state drinking water health standards. The MCWA is proud to report that our system did not violate a maximum contaminate level or any other water quality standard. This report is an overview of last year’s water quality. Drinking water sources (both tap and bottled water) include lakes, reservoirs, rivers and streams, springs and groundwater 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 NYSDOH and USEPA establish 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. The MCWA’s water quality monitoring program substantially exceeds federal and state requirements. County and state Departments of Health also review our operating, monitoring and testing data for regulatory compliance and independently monitor quality in our water distribution system. Click here to view MCWA’s most recent Water Quality Report.
Some constituents we tested for were detected, but at levels well below the allowable MCLs. A table of these detected contaminants and a complete water quality summary are provided by each of our sources of supply. It is 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. USEPA / CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and other microbiological contaminants are available from the USEPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800) 426-4791 or the Monroe County Department of Public Health, 111 Westfall Road, Rochester, NY 14620, (585) 753-5564, or your local county health department.
Cryptosporidium is a microbial pathogen present in varying concentrations in many surface waters and groundwater under the direct influence of surface water. Cryptosporidium is removed / inactivated through a combination of filtration and disinfection or by disinfection.
In 2022, the MCWA analyzed a total of four source water samples for Cryptosporidium taken from Lake Ontario at the Shoremont and Webster water treatment plants. Cryptosporidium was detected in two raw water samples, one collected in February and one collected in November, at the Shoremont water treatment plant. In our treatment processes at this plant, Cryptosporidium is removed / inactivated by a combination of filtration and disinfection.
The MCWA encourages individuals with weakened immune systems to consult their health care provider regarding appropriate precautions to avoid infection. Ingestion of Cryptosporidium may cause cryptosporidiosis, an intestinal illness, and may spread through means other than drinking water. Person to person transmission may also occur in day care centers or other settings where handwashing practices are inadequate. Please contact your local health department for more information on cryptosporidiosis.
The MCWA is one of the many New York water utilities providing drinking water with a controlled, low level concentration 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 NYSDOH requires that we monitor fluoride levels on a daily basis. In 2022 the fluoride levels in your water were within 0.2 mg/L of the CDC’s recommended optimal level 97.7% of the time. The highest monitoring level was 1.15 mg/L, below the 2.2 mg/L MCL for fluoride. More information on fluoridation can be found here.
Lead in Drinking Water
If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women, infants, and young children. There is no detectable lead in the water we deliver to your home. Lead in drinking water is primarily from lead-bearing materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. Although our testing indicates this is not a problem for our customers, it is possible that lead levels at your home may be higher than at other homes in the community as a result of materials used in your home’s plumbing. The Monroe County Water Authority 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 EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791) or at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.
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 also be used for this purpose.
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 and the other Great Lakes provide 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 deliver 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 10:00 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.
Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule
Every few years the EPA 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 future drinking water regulations. MCWA completed monitoring for the fourth list (UCMR 4) in 2020. Monitoring for the fifth list (UCMR 5) begins in 2023.
Previous Year’s Water Quality Information
For historical information on previous years’ water quality information click here.
For More Information
If you have questions about water quality, your bill, or Monroe County Water Authority operations, please call Customer Service at (585) 442-7200.