Water Division

BPU Water

BPU Water is “Hard”

BPU Water is described as moderately hard, measured as 9-10 grams per gallon.

“Hardness” in drinking water is caused by two non-toxic minerals – calcium and magnesium. If these two minerals are present in your water in substantial amounts, the water is said to be hard because making a lather or suds for washing is difficult (or hard) to do.

Water containing little calcium or magnesium is called soft water.

BPU Water Temperature

BPU water temperatures average between 54-57 degrees Fahrenheit. The average January water temperature is 46 degrees Fahrenheit. The average September temperature is 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water Looks Cloudy

If your water appears cloudy when it first comes from the faucet, then clears, you are seeing tiny air bubbles in the water. The air bubbles are similar to the gas bubbles in beer and carbonated drinks. After a while, the bubbles rise to the top and are gone. This type of cloudiness happens more often in winter when the drinking water is cold.

Plumbing Information

The Jamestown Office of the Plumbing Inspector is housed within the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities. The office may be reached at (716)661-1654 from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m., weekdays.

The links below contain license applications for Master Plumber, Journeyman Plumber and Apprentice Plumber; the City of Jamestown Plumbing Code and the Plumbing Permit Application.

Plumbing: Application for Apprentice License

Plumbing: Application Journeyman License

Plumbing: Master Plumber's Application

City of Jamestown Plumbing Code

Plumbing Permit Application

For questions or further information or to schedule a plumbing inspection, call (716)661-1654. Please contact the office at least 24 hours before your requested inspection time.

Is our water safe to drink? Absolutely!

The Utility's goal is to provide you with high quality, safe, drinking water that exceeds every federal and state standard. As mandated by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), this Water Quality Report details our water resources, the results of our water tests, and other information. You can count on the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities for "quality on tap." Our results show it!

If you have any questions about this report or your drinking water, please contact BPU Communications Coordinator, Rebecca Robbins, at 716-661-1680. We want you to be informed about your drinking water. If you want to learn more, we urge you to attend any of the regularly scheduled meetings of the Board of Public Utilities. The meetings are held the fourth Tuesday of each month at 12:30 PM in the BPU Board Room at 92 Steele Street. A schedule of the meetings each year is posted on our website under "Board Schedule." We encourage public interest in our community's decisions affecting drinking water.

Bulk Water Service for Contractors

Bulk water is available for purchase at multiple locations in BPU water territory by permit.

To obtain a permit and to discuss your need for bulk water, please call the Water Division Engineering Department at (716) 661-1606 or .

When you call, you’ll be asked the following questions:

  • Why do you need water (for example, to fill a pool; to fix a road)?


  • What is the location of your job site?


  • How much water do you estimate you will need?


  • How many days will you need the water (for example, one day or four months)?

The price of your water purchase and the water station you will use depends on these factors.

Existing bulk water customers who have questions about billing may call Water Division Accounting at (716)661-1692.

Seasonal Service for Residential and Commercial Customers

We remind customers who will be away from their homes all winter to request water shut-off before leaving your house.

Winter temperatures in the Jamestown area often reach the frigid level, causing frost in the ground as deep as 51 inches below the surface. Sometimes these temperatures can cause frozen or broken water lines that result in water damage to your home.

If your home will be unoccupied from fall to spring, we suggest that you call our Customer Service Office at 661-1660 and request a water shut-off appointment. We require that you or a representative be at the house when we come to do the work to verify that all water is stopped. Your home also should be drained by you or a plumber.

The customer will be responsible to pay a reconnection charge upon reconnection of service when you return. In addition, you, the customer, continue to be responsible for payment of the basic service charges during this period of seasonal disconnection.

Ask a trusted friend, neighbor or relative to keep an eye on your home and be available in emergency situations. Give them access to your home so they can regularly monitor heating, electrical and water systems. Please provide our Customer Service Office with the name and phone number for your local representative, should a concern arise in your home while you are away.

Taking these steps now could help prevent problems when you return to your home after winter.

Tour the Water System

The system’s groundwater can be drawn from two separate well fields, each totally independent of the other and each source capable of supplying all of the community’s needs. The two underground reservoirs provide 11,500,000 gallons of storage and both Cassadaga and Clay Pond Pump Stations each have a 500,000 gallon storage tank. The Lakewood water tank contains 2,000,000 gallons of finished water. An above ground tank at the Chautauqua County Airport holds 150,000 gallons of finished water.

As of 2012, the BPU Water Division serves the City of Jamestown and the Villages of Celoron, Falconer and Lakewood. Portions of the Towns of Busti, Ellicott and North Harmony also receive BPU water.

The Cassadaga aquifer has a watershed area of 140 square miles. Water is pumped from eight wells and collected in a receiving well at the Cassadaga well field. Just enough chlorine and fluoride are added before the water is pumped to the Buffalo Street Pump Station. Each well head and its equipment is enclosed in a small building such as this one. Two 200 horsepower pumps at the Cassadaga Pump Station propel the water to the Buffalo Street Pump Station, on the first leg of its journey to utility customers.

This is the Buffalo Street Pump Station and the 1,500,000-gallon reservoir. Water is pumped here from the Cassadaga well field to be distributed to BPU customers. Originally built in 1925 with a cone top, in 1957, the first reservoir was replaced with a flat concrete roof covered with grass. These 200 horsepower booster pumps at the Buffalo Street Pump Station send water from the Cassadaga well field out into the utility's water distribution system.

The English Hill Reservoir, located at the highest point of the city, consists of two identical 5,000,000-gallon chambers. The first chamber was built in 1912-13 and the second chamber was constructed in 1965-66. One 20 horsepower and two 75 horsepower pumps move water to homes and schools located at this same elevation, while gravity causes the remainder to flow into the distribution system should it be needed.

The Conewango aquifer has a watershed area of 290 square miles. Water is pumped from the four wells tapping this aquifer to the Clay Pond Pump Station and stored in a 500,000 gallon storage tank. This Pond was once a pit where blue clay was dug for brick making. The story has it, that one day workers returned to the clay pit to find it had filled with water - thus Clay Pond. The English Hill reservoir can be filled two ways - by back flow from the distribution system or by direct pumpage from Clay Pond. This refilling is usually done during the night. Two 200 horsepower pumps propel the water to the English Hill Reservoir. All pumps are redundant in case of failure.

Water Division History

In 1903, the City of Jamestown purchased the Jamestown Water Company from the American Water Works and Guarantee Company of Pittsburgh for the sum of $600,000. This purchase brought to a close a long series of negotiations which had been pending for a good many years, during which time the municipality had been debating whether to purchase the water system as it then existed, or to construct an entirely new plant of their own.

A Board of Commissioners was established for the purpose of operating the Water Department. The early days of their existence were rather trying for they had naturally inherited many problems and much grievance from the former owners. In 1914, the Water and Light Commissioners were consolidated and known as the Board of Water and Lighting Commissioners. Finally, in 1923, the City Charter was revised and as part of that revision, the Board of Public Utilities was established to assume control and jurisdiction of the municipal utility systems.

In the mid-1800s, an early Jamestown settler, "Father Hart", was president, Board of Directors, and office boy for Jamestown's first water works system. Father Hart, his horse Larry, his cart and water barrels were the distribution system. The rates were reasonable - 15 cents a barrel, or two for a quarter.

The old man and his load of water were a familiar sight on the village streets in Jamestown's early days. The old man and his rig did a good, steady, conservative, though not rushing, business.

In September of 1873, the Trustees of the Village of Jamestown called a meeting to vote on a proposition for a municipal water works, primarily to provide fire protection. $5,000 was appropriated to lay a small wooden pipeline from the Warner Dam, up Main to Fifth Street and down Main to Fenton Place. The pipe had plugs for hose attachment at convenient intervals. A pump was installed with a water wheel to drive it and the waters of the Outlet were to run the wheel - that is, when there was sufficient water.

The Kents established the first public water supply for the Village of Jamestown. They drilled 12 wells near where Fairmount Avenue and the Erie Railroad intersect, laid nearly 13 miles of mains and built a pumping station. Soon after, the wells were determined as inadequate, so wrought iron main was laid from Chautauqua Lake, near the old Celoron ballroom, to the pump station. That main was a complete failure as well.

In 1888, several townspeople, knowing of certain small, hand-driven wells of great volume near Levant, built a pumping station there and for a number of years, it provided the City with all of the ground water that it needed.

The American Water Works and Guaranty Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania purchased the water works in 1889 for $300,000. The city residents built further and further away from the Outlet and higher and higher into the surrounding hills over the next few years until it was impossible for the pumps at Levant to raise the water. So, the Buffalo Street Pump Station was built in 1892 to serve as a booster station.

The City of Jamestown purchased back the water works in 1903 for $600,000.

During 1912 and 1913, the City built the 5 million gallon, English Hill reservoir (a second 5 million gallon chamber was added in the 1960s) and doubled the force main from Levant.

The National Board of Fire Underwriters made a survey of the City with reference to the ability of the water and Fire Departments to take care of fires and conflagrations that might happen in the City. In its August 10, 1910 report, the Underwriters called on the Water Department to set about providing, with the least possible delay, a reservoir with an ultimate capacity of at least 15 million gallons, to be located on the top of English Hill, a 24-inch line connecting it with the system and a second 16-inch force main from Levant. Also, the report required adding a large amount of large diameter pipe to the system, together with a number of minor requests and recommendations, all of which were to be completed in the period of five years from the date of the report.

The initial 1,500,000 gallon Buffalo Street Reservoir was built in 1925. The reservoir was built of rock, 100 feet inside diameter and 18 feet deep, with a concrete floor and a corrugated iron roof supported by light steel trusses.

Rebuilt years later, the reservoir was moved slightly on the property and the peaked roof was removed. The new flat roof was covered with earth and grassed over.

Today, the Water Division of Jamestown's Board of Public Utilities continues to extract ground water from approximately the same area. Together with water drawn from the Cassadaga aquifer, the BPU provides this natural resource to approximately 48,000 residents of the City of Jamestown, the Villages of Lakewood, Falconer, and Celoron and portions of the Towns of Busti, Ellicott, West Ellicott, Kiantone, and North Harmony.



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