The following is a republished press release from the Tompkins County Health Department and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … click here to submit community announcements directly to The Voice, or contact me at

ITHACA, NY – The Tompkins County Health Department is working with the City of Ithaca to address the discolored drinking water issue within the municipal distribution system as well as the lead sampling conducted at city facilities.

We do not have indications that these issues are related, but existing water quality data is being reviewed and additional sampling has been requested.

For residents with concerns about lead in your drinking water at home, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce the possibility of exposure.

 First, if water hasn’t been used for several hours, run it for 15-30 seconds or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking. This reduces the concentration of lead-containing water from the pipes.

 Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water.

 Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.

 Brass fixtures contain lead – do not drink from utility sinks or hose bibs which often have brass fixtures.

 Boiling water will not reduce the concentration of lead.

Public water systems are required to provide their users with Annual Water Quality Report (AWQR). Lead and copper results for the most recent sampling can be found in this report. The AWQR for the City of Ithaca, Cornell and Bolton Point water systems may be found at the City of Ithaca website:

Community suppliers not connected to municipal water systems — those that supply water to at least 25 people in residences such as apartment buildings in rural areas — are also required to provide their users with an AWQR. If you are served by ones of these systems, contact them for the AWQR.

If you choose to test the water at your home, contact a certified laboratory and they will provide information, sampling instructions and containers for proper testing. A list of certified labs can be found on our website at this link:

You may also call the Tompkins County Health Department for more information on testing at (607) 274-6688 or visit our website at:

(Featured photo courtesy of Flickr.)

Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.