MAYVILLE, N.Y.: - Who will earn the title of Best Tasting Drinking Water in Chautauqua County for 2017? This will be decided on Saturday, May 13 at Chautauqua Mall when drinking water from municipal water systems across the county will compete for the title. This year’s participants so far include the Villages of Cherry Creek and Mayville, the Cities of Dunkirk and Jamestown and the Town of Carroll (Frewsburg). 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 a sample of each water, and vote for which one they like best. Voting will only take a few minutes.
Chautauqua County Commissioner of Health and Human Services Christine Schuyler said, "This is an important contest because it helps promote the importance of drinking water, which too often is taken for granted 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 are the sources of our drinking water."
Schuyler said, "Managing public drinking water systems is hard work and requires 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 also play a big role by making water-responsible decisions. Many of our municipalities have recently made, or are making significant investments in our water infrastructure, which is crucial to assure they are up to date and delivering the highest quality water possible."
Here are some tips on how to protect your family and preserve your drinking water resources:
- 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 is sometimes present in older 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.
- 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.
- Be Careful What You Dump Down the Drain - Flushable wipes, facial tissue, paper towels and medications should be thrown away in the trash, not flushed down the toilet. Also, fats, oil and grease should not be dumped down the drain; they should also be thrown away in the trash. Cleaning agents, solvents, paint and other chemical wastes should be disposed of for free through our Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Days, not poured down the drain – call 716-985-4785 for information.
- 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. Many of our water mains, fire hydrants and water treatment plants are 75 to 100 years old and must be replaced, which is a huge investment. 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 during National Drinking Water Week, which is the first full week in May each year. It provides a unique opportunity for both water professionals and the communities they serve to join together in recognizing the vital role water plays in 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 Water Quality Task Force. 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.
For more information on drinking water, call the Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services at (716) 753-4481 or visit us on the web at www.co.chautauqua.ny.us and click on Public Health / Environmental Health or visit www.drinktap.org, www.epa.gov, or www.health.ny.gov .