Where does my drinking water come from?

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Our Water System's source of supply comes from the waters of the Hannacrois and Basic Creeks, located approximately 20 miles southwest of the city in the Heldeberg Mountains. A retention dam was built across the Hannacrois Creek near the Village of Alcove which stores the water of this creek and forms the Alcove Reservoir. The Alcove Reservoir is the main supply reservoir for the Water System. Located in the Town of Coeymans, the Alcove Reservoir contains 13.5 billion gallons of water, of which approximately 12.1 billion gallons are considered available for use. 


Water is carried from the Alcove Reservoir by a 48-inch diameter cast iron pipe (the "Supply Conduit") to our filtration plant located in the Town of Bethlehem, approximately half-way between the Alcove Reservoir and the City water distribution system. The filtration plant is a conventional treatment plant with aeration, hydraulic flocculation, sedimentation, rapid sand filtration and disinfection. Chemicals currently used in the process include sodium hypochlorite, polyaluminum chloride, sodium permanganate, and hydrated lime. In 2018, gas chlorination was replaced with sodium hypochlorite and sodium permanganate addition was relocated to the Alcove Reservoir. 


The water supplied from the Alcove Reservoir is delivered to the city entirely by gravity through the Supply Conduit. The Supply Conduit, constructed in 1930-1932, is approximately 20 miles long and traverses the Towns of Coeymans and Bethlehem, from the Alcove Reservoir to the Loudonville Reservoir. Water is transmitted by the Supply Conduit to the filtration plant and subsequently, to the city and the Loudonville Reservoir. 


The Loudonville Reservoir serves as both distribution, storage and back-up supply. The Loudonville system consists of three concrete lined basins with a total capacity of 211 million gallons, representing approximately 7-days of water supply to the City during an emergency or planned outage, one requiring shutdown of the Feura Bush filtration plant or the shutdown of the Supply Conduit.


The storage basins are uncovered. An ultraviolet (uv) disinfection system initially installed in 2003 was updated with new uv reactors in 2023 and can treat a total of 40 million gallons per day. The In addition, the finished water is chlorinated prior to entering the distribution system reservoir in accordance with New York State Department of Health requirements. Viricidal disinfection with chlorine is accomplished prior to ultraviolet treatment.


Interconnections to the Town of Colonie have capacity of approximately 10 million Gallons per Day. These interconnections, at Loudonville reservoir and New Karner Road, are for emergency use for supply to either municipality under an inter-municipal agreement.

Show All Answers

1. Where does my drinking water come from?
2. Who owns the water service leading to my house?
3. My water bill is higher than expected. What should I do?
4. Can I pay my bill online?
5. What is the oldest water main in the City?
6. Why do owners of vacant property still have to pay a water and sewer fee?
7. Is it true that the Albany Water Department is checking every water main in the City?
8. Why must we pay sewer charges as well as water charges?
9. My lawn was damaged during a water main break. Will you replace it?
10. Who repairs the sidewalks and driveways damaged during a water main break?
11. Why are there more water main breaks in the cold weather?
12. Can the public visit any of the Water Department facilities or reservoirs?
13. Many Capital District communities have water restrictions. How about Albany?
14. I have heard Albany water was judged the best in the State. Is that true?
15. Does the Albany Water Department protect the reservoirs and facilities from any potential threats?
16. Where does Six Mile Water Works get its name?
17. How do I know that water in my home is safe to drink?
18. Who should I contact if my water has a funny smell, taste, or appearance?
19. If my pressure is low, what do I do?
20. What are your hours?
21. I have lead pipes in my home, what do I do?