Onondaga County Water Authority

North Syracuse, New York 13212
OCWA website

Population: 500,000 residents in 5 counties in Central New York
System: Water

Despite the “Onondaga County” portion of its name, OCWA, Central New York’s Water Authority, serves residents throughout Onondaga County and portions of four other counties. ‘Central New York’ describes a beautiful, lake and waterway-dense area of Upstate New York that is within a half-day drive of many major east-coast US and eastern Canadian cities. The community has a rich Native American and immigrant history and active, year-round outdoor culture. Onondaga derives from the name of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy tribe that lived in the area at the time of European contact. The Haudenosaunee Confederacy is believed to have influenced the US Founding Fathers and their structure for democracy. Through business and academic collaboration, the region advances its legacy of innovation.

Located in the Finger Lakes region of central New York and encompassing the City of Syracuse, the county is 806 square miles. In addition to many large lake systems, the county contains 35 miles of the New York State Barge Canal which links the Hudson River to Lake Erie. OCWA, was established to serve the suburban communities surrounding Syracuse. It has received many AWWA New York Section awards for proactive infrastructure improvements and has received the Section’s Safety Award for three years running. North Syracuse, where OCWA’s headquarters is located, is home to the U.S.’s first plank road, which was used for bicycle races and horse riding. 

OCWA’s system is served by two source lakes – Lake Ontario, the eastern-most Great Lake, to the north and Otisco Lake, the eastern-most Finger Lake, to the south. Water from Lake Ontario is pumped from the lower Great Lake elevation, while water from the Otisco Plant is predominantly gravity fed into the OCWA system. Both the Otisco and Ontario Water Treatment Plants are AWWA Partnership for Safe Water Directors Award Recipients.