Water Quality

Telephone (315) 792-0301
Fax (315) 792-5201
One Kennedy Plaza
Utica, NY 13502

USEPA ID#: NY01505
New York State ELAP ID#: 10319
Pennsylvania DEP ID#: 68-03428

American Waterworks Association (AWWA)
Water Research Foundation

Other Parameters

Nitrate-Nitrite, Alkalinity, Total Hardness, Calcium Hardness, Fluoride, Chloride, Conductivity

Directions for Obtaining and Submitting Drinking Water for Nitrate/Nitrite Analyses

Please read and follow all steps listed:

  1. Obtain a water sample kit from the Water Quality Laboratory.
  2. DO NOT remove the bottle cap until just before filling.
  3. Let the water run to waste for 1 to 2 minutes (In sampling from a faucet remove the attachments such as the strainer screen before running water). Reduce the water flow to permit filling the bottle without splashing. Rinse the bottle with the sample water and then fill the bottle completely.
  4. Re-cap the sample bottle and label accordingly, including Client name, sample point, and date/time of sampling.
  5. Water samples will be accepted at the Water Quality Laboratory, located on the third floor of Utica City Hall, on Wednesdays ONLY (8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.) Samples are analyzed at the laboratory on Thursdays only. MVWA Standard Operating Procedures dictate analysis for Nitrate/Nitrite within 48-hours of sampling, so please sample accordingly. The sample must be refrigerated, or kept on ice, from the time of sampling until delivery to the Lab (be sure water sample does not freeze). Sorry no exceptions.
  6. Fill out the Nitrate/Nitrite test form. Make sure to complete both the “Client Info” and the “Sample Data” boxed sections. If this sample is for New York State Department of Health monitoring requirements, please include the FED ID number. Results will be sent by mail, fax, or e-mail (if requested) when released by the Quality Assurance Officer.
  7. The water sample must be accompanied by $25.00. We accept cash, check, money order, credit, or debit cards. Please make checks payable to the MVWA.
  8. At its discretion, MVWA may subcontract your sample out to a contracted lab for any reason, including but not limited to workload volume, equipment failure, and issues related to quality control.

Test Explanations for Various Water Quality Parameters

Definitions (as used below)

  • MCL = Maximum contaminant level. This is maximum allowable amount for public water systems.
  • mg/L = Milligrams per liter. 1 mg/L is equivalent to one ppm.
  • ppm = Parts per million. 1 ppm is equivalent to one mg/L.
  • mg CaCO3/L = milligrams calcium carbonate per liter.
  • g/gal = Grains per gallon.
  • μS/cm – Microseimens per centimeter.

Nitrate – The MCL for nitrate is 10 mg/L (ppm). If your concentration is above this level, there is reason to be concerned. Please contact your local Health Department for more information.

Nitrite – The MCL for nitrite is 1 mg/L (ppm). If your concentration is above this level, there is reason to be concerned. Please contact your local Health Department for more information.

Alkalinity – Alkalinity is a measure of the buffering, or acid-neutralizing capacity of water. It is reported to a designated pH which is recorded (The alkalinity to pH____=____mg CaCO3/L) to indicate the endpoint used for the test. The range for drinking water alkalinity is wide with typical ranges from 0-500 mg CaCO3/L depending on the source of the water.

Total and Calcium Hardness – Total hardness is a measure of the concentrations of calcium and magnesium in water. Calcium hardness is just the calcium fraction. Hard water may be responsible for staining of fixtures or buildup of deposits within household plumbing. The units for these are mg CaCO3/L. This can be converted to grains per gallon (g/gal). One g/gal equals 17.5 mg CaCO3/L Hardness. Hardness is typically removed with water softeners that use salt in an ion exchange process.

Classification mg/L g/gal
Soft 0-17 0-1
Slightly Hard 18-60 1-3.5
Moderately Hard 61-120 3.6-7.0
Hard 121-180 7.1-10.5
Very Hard >180 >10.5

Fluoride – Fluoride is a naturally occurring element in many groundwaters. It is also added to some public water systems (including MVWA) at a dose of 0.7 mg/L to reduce dental caries. The MCL for fluoride in New York State is 2.2 mg/L. Fluoride levels in excess of 4 mg/L have been known to cause mottling of teeth.

Chloride – Chloride is one of the major anions found in water. The MCL for chloride is 250 mg/L. If your concentration is above this level, there may be reason to be concerned. Please contact your local Health Department for more information.

Sulfate – Sulfate is widely found in nature and can range from low to very high levels in water. The MCL for sulfate is 250 mg/L. Please contact your local Health Department for more information.

Turbidity – This is a measure of the clarity of water. It is caused by colloidal or suspended matter in the water. Because microbes can be attached to this material, having high turbidity levels can lend to the presence of bacteria in water.

Conductivity – Conductivity is the ability of a water to carry a current. This depends on the number of ions in the water. The units are μS/cm and typical drinking water ranges are wide, ranging from zero to over 1000 μS/cm.