National Drinking Water Week is currently running through Saturday, May 9.  The theme for this year’s event is “There When You Need It.”

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have assured consumers that drinking water is safe to use as normal. The consistent and reliable quality of drinking water is at the heart of the theme for this year’s Drinking Water Week.

OCWA—Central New York’s Water Authority—and the American Water Works Association (AWWA) are observing Drinking Water Week by recognizing the vital role tap water plays in daily life, the infrastructure that is required to carry it to and from homes and businesses, and the important work of water professionals “behind the scenes”.

Many communities, including Central New York, are fortunate to have reliable access to safe water when they turn on the tap. In large part this stems from the regular testing OCWA conducts to ensure that regulatory standards for water quality are met. In fact, every water system must publish a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), which details its water quality.

“Since the day COVID-19 was declared a worldwide pandemic, all of us have been consistently reminded of the importance of thoroughly washing our hands and properly rehydrating in the effort to protect ourselves from the coronavirus,” said OCWA Executive Director Michael Hooker. “Properly treated and disinfected water is vital to both hygiene and hydration, and OCWA is very proud of the dedication demonstrated by its employees who continue to work 24 hours a day to ensure the safety and quality of your water supply.”

To commemorate the week, water utilities, water organizations, government entities, environmental advocates, schools and other stakeholders throughout North America and beyond will encourage consumers to understand and appreciate their drinking water.

A few basic facts about OCWA’s water system and supply:

  • We operate two water treatment facilities, 2,152 miles of water main, 47 pump stations, and 60 storage facilities.
  • Annually we invest over $10 million in capital improvements to maintain the reliability of our system.
  • We inspect and maintain over 13,500 fire hydrants throughout our five-county system to ensure that emergency water service is available to local residents.
  • Our three certified water quality laboratories perform over 12,000 water analysis annually.
  • We test for the presence of over 140 individual potential contaminants.
  • We serve 53 different municipalities (including 6 emergency interconnections).