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Water Contamination Advisory Now Lifted



Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Mayor Malik Evans held a news conference on Thursday to provide an update to the community regarding water safety following the discovery of a decomposing body in the reservoir. 


The mayor addressed concerns regarding water safety in Rochester following the discovery of a decomposing body in the reservoir. The body, identified as Abdullahi Muya, was reported as missing since February. His body was found 15 feet deep in the reservoir by Water Bureau employees. 


The Rochester Police Department's SCUBA Team retrieved Muya's body. After the body was retrieved, the city ceased using the reservoir and instead relied on the other two reservoirs. Evans stated the city took immediate action by issuing a boil water advisory for affected areas as a precautionary measure. 


Since 1876, Rochester residents have relied upon Hemlock and Canadice Lakes for their drinking water supply. The City supplements its water supply with Lake Ontario water purchased from Monroe County Water Authority (MCWA). This water is treated at MCWA’s Shoremont Treatment Plant located on Dewey Avenue, according to the city's website.


The affected areas included neighborhoods from Genesee River to Flint Street, Flint Street to Genesee Street, Genesee Street to Arnett Boulevard, and so on, as detailed on the map. Despite initial tests showing no contamination, the Bureau of Water continued to monitor for bacterial microbes that could potentially cause health issues.


Authorities have confirmed that exposure to the presence of bacterial microbes could cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, and other symptoms.


Although tests indicated that the water was not contaminated, the Bureau of Water monitored for bacterial microbes that could pose health risks to the community. The city will drain, clean, and refill the reservoir over the next few months. Evan believes this extra step is to show the city's commitment to ensuring the safety of its drinking water. 


Students attending the Rochester City School District(RCSD) were also impacted by the water advisory. RCSD announced that city schools would be closed on Wednesday, March 20 and Thursday, March 21. 


During the news conference, the mayor announced the advisory was lifted after water quality tests confirmed the water's safety. The lift occurred during the early hours of Thursday morning. 


RCSD announced that it would resume classes after the quality tests confirmed the water advisory could be lifted. 


Evans expressed concerns over the security of the reservoir and highlighted the measures in place to prevent unauthorized access.


He emphasized the security measures in place at the reservoir, including cameras with heat and motion sensors, regular patrols by Water Bureau staff, and real-time monitoring of water quality. Despite these precautions, Muya was able to access the fenced-in reservoir undetected, raising concerns about the effectiveness of the existing security measures. The city's decision to review and possibly enhance security protocols at the reservoir is crucial to prevent similar incidents in the future.


Moving forward, the mayor confirmed that it is essential for the city to review and enhance security protocols. He acknowledged that he would take steps to prevent unauthorized access and ensure the safety of its drinking water.

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