On January 1, 2017, OCWA—Central New York’s Water Authority—finalized its historic operational consolidation with the Onondaga County Water District, combining the major wholesale and retail water operations in a five-county region of Central New York.
As part of the consolidation, OCWA gained 33 new employees and is now responsible for operating the critical Lake Ontario Water Treatment Facility, which can process up to 60 million gallons of clean, reliable water for Central New York residents on a daily basis. OCWA also now operates all of the County’s nine pump stations, 13 water storage facilities with a total holding capacity of 117 million gallons, and 125 miles of water main, including a significant portion of large diameter transmission main.
“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to bring together two such outstanding organizations as the Metropolitan Water Board (which operated the Onondaga County Water District) and OCWA,” said OCWA Executive Director Michael E. Hooker. “Clean, reliable water is arguably our most critical natural resource. This consolidation helps preserve that resource and promotes regional prosperity by creating a single, sustainable, cost-effective water supply and distribution network system.”
The newly consolidated system pumps “raw” water from an intake off the shore of Lake Ontario in Oswego to the nearby Water Treatment Plant where it is filtered, purified and tested. The “finished” water is then pumped to the Terminal Covered Storage Facility in the Town of Clay, from which it is transmitted to the east, west and south to other consolidated storage facilities and connections.
In addition to Lake Ontario, OCWA draws water from Otisco Lake in southwestern Onondaga County. The Authority was established by act of the New York State Legislature in 1951 and now employs over 170 people serving 500,000 residents in Onondaga, Oswego, Madison, Cayuga and Oneida counties on a retail and wholesale basis. OCWA is one of the 100 largest water systems in the country, operating over 2,200 miles of water main, 58 storage facilities and 46 pump stations.