Drinking Water Safety

Re-opening your building after an extended shutdown?

Click Here for guidance on how to ensure the water in your building is safe for your tenants and employees.

Coronavirus and Drinking Water

The safety of your drinking water is of the utmost importance to the City of Rochester. The City's water treatment processes operate in accordance with EPA regulations that prevent waterborne pathogens such as viruses from contaminating drinking water. The chlorine disinfection used at the City's treatment facilities is very effective at inactivating viruses such as COVID-19. City residents can continue to use and drink water from their tap as usual without risk. If you have additional questions about COVID-19 and drinking water, click here: https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-drinking-water-and-wastewater



The City of Rochester has provided its customers with a dependable supply of safe and affordable drinking water for more than 140 years. The video below was developed by the American Water Works Association to explain how lead can get into drinking water and what you can do to protect your household. 

Health impacts of lead

Exposure to lead can cause serious health effects in all age groups. Infants and children who drink water containing lead could have decreases in IQ and attention span and increases in learning and behavior problems. Lead exposure among women who are pregnant increases prenatal risks. Lead exposure among women who later become pregnant has similar risks if lead stored in the mother's bones is released during pregnancy. Recent science suggests that adults who drink water containing lead have increased risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney or nervous system problems.

Where does lead in water come from?

Lead is not found in Rochester’s source water or in the water mains. Lead can be present in the service lines connecting homes to water mains and in brass fixtures, faucets, and solder in copper plumbing. These items can pass lead into the water you use for drinking and cooking.

Click Here for FAQs for Lead in Drinking Water

Other sources of lead

Childhood lead poisoning is nearly always the result of ingesting lead dust from deteriorated lead-based paint in the home. Make sure your house or apartment is safe from lead hazards by scheduling a FREE lead inspection with the City by calling (585) 428-6520. More information is available from the Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning.

Follow these steps to find out if there is lead in your water

Check Available Records: Water service material records are available in the Property Information Application. Enter address and click “Water” tab or call the Water Dispatch office at (585) 428-7500.

Have Your Water Tested for Free: Contact the Water Bureau’s Laboratory at (585) 428-6680 Ext 1, or by email.

Inspect Your Plumbing: Learn how to identify sources of lead in your plumbing with this online guide.

EPA's guide for How to Identify Lead Free Certification Marks for Drinking Water System & Plumbing Products is available at the following website: https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi?Dockey=P100LVYK.txt

Contact a licensed plumber: Call the City’s Bureau of Buildings and Zoning Permit Office at (585) 428-6526 or visit the Licensed Trades web page

Information for the City's lead testing at Recreation Centers is available at the following website: http://www.cityofrochester.gov/rcenterwater/

Simple steps you can take to reduce lead

  1. Use only cold water for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula. Hot water dissolves lead more quickly.
  2. Flush your pipes any time water has been unused for more than 4-6 hours. Lead levels are highest when water has been sitting in the pipe. Run your cold water for 3 to 5 minutes to ensure complete flushing.
  3. Routinely clean faucet screens which can accumulate lead and rust particles.
  4. Use a water filter that is certified NSF 53 to remove lead. Find out more at www.nsf.org

Water Main Work on your street?

The City will provide a free lead filtering water pitcher if your water service has been disturbed due to construction. Just call us at 428-7500. The filter pitchers are very effective. We tested them in our laboratory and are sharing the results HERE.

 EPA Hotline and Information


Water Supply