News Flash

Health & Human Services Department

Posted on: May 3, 2019

26th Annual Drinking Water Contest to be Held May 11

2018 Water Tasting Contest


MAYVILLE, N.Y.:-- Who will earn the title of Best Tasting Drinking Water in Chautauqua County for 2019?  This will be decided on Saturday, May 11 at Chautauqua Mall when drinking water from municipal water systems across the county will compete for the title.  This year’s participants include the villages of Fredonia and Mayville, the cities of Dunkirk and Jamestown, and the towns of Carroll (Frewsburg) and Cherry Creek.   The public is invited to stop by the water contest booth set up near center court in the Mall anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., taste each water and vote for the one they like best. Voting only takes a few minutes and all are welcome to cast a vote.    

Chautauqua County Commissioner of Health and Human Services Christine Schuyler said, "This is our opportunity to highlight just how important safe drinking water is to everyone, which is taken for granted by most until it becomes polluted or is not there when we turn on our taps.  We use the Water Tasting Contest as a way to encourage water stewardship and remind everyone that our everyday actions can impact our streams, rivers, lakes and groundwater, which is the source of our drinking water." 

Schuyler said, "Operating public drinking water systems requires around-the-clock dedication. Water operators and health officials are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to water emergencies and outages. Our elected officials and public water system owners also play a key role by making water-responsible decisions.  Our municipalities are making huge investments in their water systems by upgrading and replacing failing infrastructure, much of which is more than 100 years old.  These investments are crucial to make sure all of our systems deliver safe, abundant drinking water to our communities." 

Here are some tips on how to protect your family and preserve your drinking water resources:

1.    Get the lead out - Lead presents health concerns for people of all ages, particularly pregnant women, infants and young children. Water entering your home from a city water supply or a private well is almost always lead-free.  However, lead can be present in household plumbing and brass fixtures.  Check your plumbing to see if it contains lead – copper pipes with soldered joints installed before 1987 is likely to contain lead.  A plumber can help determine if you have lead and if so, have your water tested.

2.    Free lead testing is available to all county residents - A $1.5-million state program to test for lead in drinking water provide NYS residents who are served by either a private well or public water system with an opportunity to have their drinking water tested for free, which will continue as long as funds are available.  Visit https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/lead/free_lead_testing_pilot_program to sign up or search the Web for “NYSDOH free lead testing program.”

3.    Check for leaks – Dripping faucets and leaking toilets waste water and cost you money.  If you’re on city water shut off all water fixtures and look at your water meter to see if it is moving.  If so, you probably have a leak somewhere that needs to be fixed.  To check for a leaky toilet, place a few drops of food coloring in the holding tank and wait five minutes without flushing.  If there’s a leak, coloring appears in the bowl.  

4.    Be careful what you dump down the drain - Flushable wipes, facial tissue, and paper towels should be thrown away in the trash, not flushed down the toilet. Fats, oil and grease should not be dumped down the drain.  Cleaning agents, solvents and other chemical waste can be disposed of for free at the County’s Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Days – call 716-985-4785 for information.

5.    Unused medications and prescription drugs should be taken to a medication drop box.  Call your local Police Department for the location of the nearest drop box.  

6.    Investments in public water systems – It’s critical that our public water systems be maintained properly because our public health, economic vitality, fire protection and quality of life rely on it. Water utility managers and government officials must plan ahead for this and work together with rate-payers and other stakeholders to make that investment to prevent emergencies and keep the water flowing.


The drinking water contest is held each year to provide an opportunity for both water professionals and the communities they serve to join together in recognizing the vital role water plays in our daily lives. The contest is co-sponsored by the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services, the County Water Works Association and the County Soil & Water Conservation District.  The winner from the county competition will go on to represent Chautauqua County in the Western New York regional competition and hopefully onto the State-wide competition. 

Schuyler also announced that the contest sponsors have a new water drop mascot and need help naming it.  

She said, “Ronny Raindrop, our old mascot who has been at the contest for the past 25 years, has retired and we are asking for the public’s help in naming our new one. We will be taking name suggestions on the Chautauqua County Health Department Facebook page and at the Mall during the contest. Come out and support your drinking water community by judging the water and naming our mascot and remember, it is everyone’s responsibility to protect our water resources.” 

For more information about drinking water, call the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services at (716) 753-4481 or visit us on the web at http://www.co.chautauqua.ny.us/ and click on Public Health / Environmental Health or visit http://www.drinktap.org/ or https://www.epa.gov/ or https://www.health.ny.gov/.   

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