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Toxin levels in Auburn's raw drinking water lower; treated water still safe to drink

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Auburn Waste Water Treatment Plant .JPG

The Auburn wastewater treatment plant at 35 Bradley St.

The level of toxins in Auburn's raw drinking water decreased two days after a reading that Cayuga County Health Department said showed an "unprecedented" amount and asked residents to prepare for a potential emergency by storing up drinking water.

In a press release late Thursday afternoon, the department said the level of toxins detected in the city of Auburn’s untreated water measured 9.89 parts per billion in a sample collected that morning. A sample taken on Tuesday measured an all-time high of 17.7 parts per billion. The town of Owasco’s level of toxins remained consistent over the two days, with a 0.31 parts per billion reading Thursday.

No toxins were detected in the samples taken of the treated drinking water from either system, so the public water remains safe to drink, the health department said.

Auburn and Owasco have two separate intake pipes located in two different spots in Owasco Lake. Auburn provides drinking water to residents in the Auburn, the towns of Aurelius, Fleming Water District 6, Throop, Mentz, Brutus, Montezuma, Sennett, Springport Water District 2, and the villages of Port Byron, Weedsport, and Cayuga. The town of Owasco provides drinking water to residents in Owasco and the Fleming Consolidated Water District.

The health department encourages residents to make sure they have enough water stored in case there was a water emergency. They promote the importance of having in storage one gallon of clean water for each person per day in the home. It is also recommended to have a minimum of a three-day supply stored in the home. 

The health department also advises the following:

• You do not need to go out and buy bottled water. You may bottle up public drinking water from your faucet.

• If bottling your public drinking water, it is important to use only clean, food grade plastic or glass containers that seal tightly and replace your supply every six months.

• If using store-bought water, please be mindful that the New York State Department Health Department certification is on the product label.

• All bottled water should be stored in a cool location away from direct sunlight.

Sample results can be found by clicking on the Harmful Algal Blooms button at For further questions, call the Cayuga County Health Department at (315) 253-1560.


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