The Environmental Health Unit maintains a 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 property owners for a fee. When a property in Chautauqua County, served by a private water supply and an onsite wastewater treatment system (OWTS), is sold or transferred, the Environmental Health Unit must evaluate the private water supply and the OWTS.
The Environmental Health Unit will provide technical assistance to property owners regarding their private water supply. Private water supply sources include dug or drilled wells, ponds, and springs.
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. Community water supply sources include wells, springs, lakes, or other surface water sources.
The Environmental Health Unit regulates the private sewage/wastewater system program. Inspectors oversee the design and installation of new onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS), as well as, corrections to existing systems to ensure installation meets the standards outlined in Article IV of the Sanitary Code of the Chautauqua County Health District and New York State Code Part 75.