The Environmental Health Unit maintains its own water bacteria testing laboratory for public and private water supplies. The laboratory is New York State and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved and certified to test potable (drinking) water and non-potable (lakes, ponds, streams) water for indicator bacteria (total coliform and E.coli).
The Environmental Health Unit provides this mandatory service to private homeowners for a fee. When a property in Chautauqua County, served by a private well and an onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS), is sold, the Environmental Health Unit must evaluate the well and OWTS.
The primary purpose of Environmental Health's Water Supply Program is to ensure the safety of county public water supplies. There are three general types of public water supplies: community, transient non-community, and non-transient non-community. Each water supply has its own individual source of water, whether it's a well, spring, lake, or other surface water.
The Environmental Health Unit regulates the private sewage/wastewater system program. Inspectors oversee the design and installation of onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) to ensure installation meets standards outlined in Article IV of the Sanitary Code of the Chautauqua County Health District and New York State Code Part 75.