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Drinking Water Supply and Testing in New York

Over 8.5 million people living in New York rely on the drinking water supply, so it is really important to make sure that the water supply is clean for the people living there.

The Issue

Many places in the US, including New York, have really high quality tap water, and make sure that it is clean to high standards. However, there can still be issues, such as microbes and lead exposure. So it is important to make sure that people don’t get unnecessarily sick from exposure.

Microbes are the main concern in most areas. These can causes issues such as cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis, which can be unpleasant, especially for these with an immunodeficiency. Symptoms can include nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps, among others.

Lead poisoning is another major issue, however, this seems to come more from the pipes in certain homes as opposed to the main water supply. The lead can come from  pipes, solder, or fixtures that leak into the home’s water supply and make people sick.

The Tests

New York, as well as many other states, already run tests for the  cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis microbes, which means that the chances of getting infected with them is very small. However. Lead exposure is a different story entirely. It can be hard to detect at all, however, many states provide tests that allows you to see for yourself if your water supply is contaminated.

With lead exposure, it is important to be wary. Turning for foucet on for a few seconds before using the water is a good short term solution. A better, longer term solution would be to change the pipes altogether. However this can be rather costly. Adding a filter to your faucet is also a great alternative that is rather cheap.

The best solution that the government can take is to provide cheaper access to these solutions. With lead poisoning being such a serious issue, homeowners should not have to pay huge expenses to dig out and replace the piping. So helping out there can be highly beneficial to many families.

New York is one of the states that are doing a fantastic job at making sure that their water supply is clean and safe for consumption. However, more can always be done. While adding filters, running water, and boiling water before use can be short term solutions to problems, making sure that the main issues are fixed and helping out homeowners when possible is the best bet.

The Information Below is from the 2017 Drinking Water Supply and Quality Report


The New York City Water Supply System provides approximately one billion gallons of safe drinking water daily to more than 8.5 million residents of New York City, and to the millions of tourists and commuters who visit the City throughout the year. The water supply system also provides about 110 million gallons a day to approximately one million people living in the counties of Westchester, Putnam, Orange, and Ulster. In all, the New York City Water Supply System provides nearly half the population of New York State with high-quality drinking water.


New York City gets its drinking water from 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes spread across a nearly 2,000-squaremile watershed. The watershed is not located in New York City, but rather upstate, in portions of the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains that are as far as 125 miles north of the City. A map of the watershed and reservoirs can be found on the inside of the front cover of this report. The New York City Water Supply System, Public Water System Identification Number (PWSID) NY7003493, consists of three individual water supplies called the Catskill/Delaware supply, located in Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan, and Ulster counties; the Croton supply, New York City’s original upstate supply, in Putnam, Westchester, and Dutchess counties; and a groundwater supply in southeastern Queens. Although the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has a permit to operate the groundwater supply, water from that system has not been delivered to customers in many years. In 2017, New York City received a blend of drinking water from the Catskill/Delaware and Croton supplies. The Catskill/Delaware supply provided approximately 97 percent of the water, and approximately three percent was supplied by Croton.

Further information on the state testing of the water supply can be found on the NYC Environmental Protection website here but for more information on your drinking water supply, contact Five Star Environmental or visit our Water Testing Page here.