Each year, the Town of Bethlehem delivers approximately 1.6 billion gallons of clean drinking water to more than 11,600 homes and businesses through 227 miles of pipes. The system also supports 1,670 fire hydrants that are vital for community safety.
Our water comes from four major sources: the Vly Creek Reservoir and New Scotland Wellfield, the Selkirk Wellfield, and the Albany Aqueduct.
Water from the Vly Creek Reservoir and New Scotland Wellfield are treated at our New Salem Water Treatment Plant in the Town of New Scotland, while water from the Selkirk Wellfield is treated at our Clapper Road Water Treatment Plant in the Town of Bethlehem. Water purchased from the City of Albany comes from the Alcove Reservoir in the Town of Coeymans and is treated prior to delivery via the Albany Aqueduct.
Federal and state laws require municipalities to monitor public drinking water supplies for more than 90 potential health risks. We have consistently passed on all of these except one – Trihalomethanes (THMs) – at one of our four state-designated sampling sites. Recently treated water sampled at this sampling site had a locational running annual average of 96.9 ppb (parts per billion) for Trihalomethanes (the maximum contaminant level for THMs is 80.0 ppb). These compounds are generated as naturally occurring organic matter in water sources reacts with the chlorine we use to properly disinfect our drinking water.
The health risks of THMs occur over a lifetime of drinking the water (calculated as 2-liters daily for 70 years), but it is important for people to know there are risks so they can understand the expensive investments we are making to eliminate them.
While the EPA, New York State Department of Health, and Albany County Health Department have all declared Bethlehem’s water safe to drink for now, the Town is working closely with these agencies on improvements to ensure our water is safe to drink over our lifetimes. Please follow the links below for more information on the exceedances, health implications, and what we’re doing to correct the situation.
Fire Hydrant Clearing Notice
Our Water Department employees work very hard to keep the fire hydrants cleared and accessible at all times. The Town of Bethlehem has over 1600 fire hydrants spread out over many miles of the water distribution system. If you have a fire hydrant in front of or close to your property, please help to ensure the visibility and accessibility of the fire hydrant. Snow, weeds, shrubs, trees, flowerbeds, etc. can all hinder the use of a fire hydrant, so keeping them clear at all times is imperative. Please help to keep the fire hydrants clear and your neighborhood safe.
Please contact the Town Call Center to report an obstructed fire hydrant (518) 439-4955 ext.4
Fire hydrants are only for use by the Water Department and the Fire Departments
The fire hydrants in the Town of Bethlehem are only for use by the Water Department and the fire departments for emergencies. Unauthorized use of the fire hydrants could result in poor water quality and water main breaks in our water distribution system. Contractors, Landscapers, Hydro-seeders, Pressure Washing companies, etc. that need access to large volumes of water shall first obtain a permit from the Water Department at Town Hall. Once a permit has been issued, the permit holder can get water at one of two designated locations: the Town Highway garage at 74 Elm Avenue East or the Field Operations garage at 308 Kenwood Avenue. Individuals looking to obtain water at one of these locations must present their permit to the Town Personnel on site prior to receiving any water.
If you see anyone other than the Water Department or Fire Departments using a fire hydrant, please contact the water department at (518) 439-4955 or the Town of Bethlehem Police Department at (518) 439-9973. If you would like more information, please contact the water department.