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City presents options for Highland's reservoir 

City officials are again trying to decide whether they need to cover the reservoirs at Highland and Cobbs Hill Parks, and they held the first of a series of public workshops on Highland on Monday night.

The reservoirs are a popular visual feature of both parks, but the water in them is part o
click to enlarge The reservoir in Highland Park contains part of Rochester's public water supply. - PHOTO BY RYAN WILLIAMSON
  • The reservoir in Highland Park contains part of Rochester's public water supply.
f the city’s public water supply. It comes from two of the Finger Lakes south of the city – Hemlock and Canadice – and it’s what Rochesterians drink and bathe in. Federal officials have strengthened requirements for protecting public water supplies, and the city has to show that its open reservoirs meet those standards despite their exposure to birds, leaves, and other potential contaminants.

Ten years ago, city officials considered covering both reservoirs, but after objections from the public, they considered treating the water with ultraviolet light instead. No action was taken, however, and last year officials hired a team of consultants to study Highland's reservoir again. The consultants came up with several different options, and city officials are now asking the public to give its opinion.

The options:
  • Leave the Highland Reservoir uncovered and treat the water to ensure its purity;
  • Cover it (with a floating membrane or aluminum cover) or contain the public water supply in a covered tank;
  • Decommission the reservoir, removing it from the public water supply but possibly keeping water in it as a visual feature.
Tonight’s event is the first of three workshops on Highland planned between now and next spring. Environmental Services Commissioner Norman Jones will then give Mayor Lovely Warren his recommended alternative.


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