By: Gillian Sloan

$1.5 Million State Program to Test for Lead in Drinking Water Available to Residents

The New York State Department of Health announced in March that it is a pilot program that will allow residents that are served by either a private well or public water system an opportunity to have their drinking water tested for lead free of charge. The testing consists of two samples, a first-draw and a flush sample, per dwelling unit (i.e. house or apartment).

How to Participate

Residents interested in participating are encouraged to sign up on the Department’s website at

Alternatively, you can email directly or call the State Health Department at (518) 402-7650 to request a free drinking water lead test kit. Residents will collect and send the samples to one of the participating laboratories below within 30 days of receiving the sample kit. The laboratory will analyze the samples and are expected to mail the results back to the resident within 30 days from the date the samples were received. You will need to provide the following information if you choose to contact the State Health Department:

  1. Your name;
  2. Your phone number;
  3. Your email address;
  4. Address for sample location and address for mailing test kit; if different;
  5. 1st choice for participating laboratory selected from the lost below; and
  6. 2nd choice for participating laboratory selected from the list below




Advanced Analytical Technologies Orangeburg Rockland
EMSL Analytical, Inc. New York New York
Environtest Laboratories, Inc. Newburgh Orange
Erie County Public Health Laboratory Buffalo Erie
NY Environmental and Analytical Labs Inc. Port Washington Nassau
Westchester County Department of Laboratories and Research Valhalla Westchester


Lead is a toxic metal that is particularly harmful to the developing brain and nervous system of children under six. Lead can affect a young child’s growth, behavior, and ability to learn. During pregnancy, exposure to lead may contribute to low birth weight, preterm delivery, miscarriage, and developmental delays in infants

It can be found in soil, air and water, but the main source of lead in homes continues to be older paint, the dust it generates, and various consumer products. Water testing helps identify lead contamination that may come from and enables homeowners to eliminate one possible source of lead exposure for children.

You can find more information on lead by clicking on “Lead” under the “Water Quality” tab on our website. Check out our 2016 Annual Quality Report for current OCWA Water Lead levels. Please contact OCWA immediately if your drinking water lead testing kit samples that you send in result in harmful levels of lead at 315-455-7061 x3335.


OCWA, Central New York’s Water Authority was established by act of the New York State Legislature in 1951 and currently serves 500,000 residents in Onondaga, Oswego, Madison, Cayuga, and Oneida counties. The Authority is one of the 100 largest water systems in the country, operating two water treatment facilities, over 2,200 miles of water main, 58 storage facilities, 46 pump stations, and 13,134 hydrants.