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What to Know About Your Drinking Water

Where does my drinking water come from?

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the quality of my drinking water?

Water suppliers prepare Annual Water Quality Reports as prescribed by Section 5-1.72 of the New York State Sanitary Code (10 NYCRR). The intent of Annual Water Quality Reports is to provide information to consumers relative to what is in their drinking water.

Here are water quality reports from local counties and municipalities:

What can be done if my water source has frequent violations?

Call your elected representatives or contact the NYS DOH.

You can also report the problem to the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline: 1-800-426-4791.

What assistance is available if I cannot pay my water bill?

Buffalo Water has a Residential Affordable Water Program that can provide at least a $60 per year discount to qualifying low-income residents.

How can I test my drinking water?

If you want to test your tap water, your local health department will assist in explaining any contaminant specific tests that you need for various contaminants. If your local health department is not able to help, you can contact a state certified laboratory to perform the test. To find a state certified laboratory in your area call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791, visit the State Certified Drinking Water Laboratories list or contact the Erie County Department of Health at 716-961-6800.

I want a water filter for my home, what kind should I get?

If you are concerned about contaminants in your drinking water, consider installing a filter. There are many filters that remove different contaminants.

Is bottled water safer to drink?

Consumer standards are actually more stringent for the quality and safety of public water sources, like tap water, than for bottled water. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SWDA) only regulates public water systems, it does not apply to bottled water. Bottled water is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.

  • More than half of all bottled water comes from the tap.
  • Single-use plastic bottles are a large source of litter found in our region.
  • Bottled water is extremely likely to contain microplastics.
  • Emergency situations like Harmful Algal Blooms or extreme weather events may dramatically impact public drinking water sources and deem the water unsafe to drink. During these types of situations communities on public water systems are normally issued a public notice. You may be offered water from a neighboring system or have to rely on bottled water, depending on the severity of the emergency and water system disturbance.

I’m concerned about lead in my drinking water – what can I do?

Tap water is processed at a water treatment plant and then transported to homes and buildings for use through water lines. Pipes used to transport tap water are the main source of potential contamination, including lead. Homes built in the United States prior to 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes or fixtures with lead.

Defining Drinking Water


Rivers arise from a network of streamlets and wetlands whose waters join together above and below ground as they flow downstream. The term headwaters refers to the smallest streams in the network.

Source Water Protection

This includes a wide variety of actions and activities aimed at safeguarding, maintaining, or improving the quality and/or quantity of sources of drinking water and their contributing areas. These activities may depend on the type of source being protected (e.g., groundwater, reservoir, or river).

Land Conservation

The protection and preservation of headwater forests and riparian areas for ecological and natural habitat benefit.

Stay Updated
PFAS, PFOA, PFOS. Have you seen these acronyms lately?
DOJ asks Supreme Court to decide whether polluting groundwater is legal under the Clean Water Act
Harmful Algal Bloom
Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Statement on Proposed Clean Water Rule Roll-Back
Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper Comments of Definition of Waters of United States - Recodification of Pre-Existing Rules
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