Hemlock and Canadice Lakes

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Hemlock Lake Water Reservoir

The Filtration Plant can be reached (24 hours a day) at 585-428-3646.

The plant is located at 7412 Rix Hill Rd. in Hemlock, NY 14466.

The City of Rochester’s primary water supply is from Canadice and Hemlock Lakes, located approximately 28 miles south of Rochester in Livingston and Ontario Counties. Water from these lakes is treated at the Hemlock Water Filtration Plant and then transmitted to the City using a system of tunnels, conduits, and storage reservoirs.

Click an image or a link below for more information.

History Articles

A Brief History of the Hemlock Reservoir

In the era before the arrival of Hemlock water, wells and cisterns were the only source of drinking water. Not surprisingly, the water quality of these wells was terrible in a city honeycombed with cesspools and privies.

A History Time Line of the Hemlock Reservoirr

Here is a time line of how the water works system was constructed and put into operation starting in 1873. The system was put into operation in 1876 and has been delivering water to Rochester since then.

A History Photo Gallery of the Hemlock Reservoir

Here are old photos of the construction of the water pipelines from Hemlock to Rochester in the 1870’s as well as group photos of the crews that ran the plant.

History of Rochesters Hemlock Water Reservoir - 1972

Here is a history of Rochester’s Hemlock Lake Water Reservoir by the City Historian Blake McKelvey in 1972.

The Hemlock Lake Water Treatment Plant

Here are photos of the construction of the water treatment plant at the north end of Hemlock Lake. The construction of the plant began in 1991 and it was completed in 1993.

Reservoir Lake Facts

Hemlock Lake is 7 miles long, 1/2 mile wide, 91 feet deep, sits at 905 feet above sea level and produces clean drinking water for Rochester at the rate of 37 million gallons per day.

News Articles


1884 - Rochester Sells the Mills at Hoppough Pond

In 1884 Rochester sold the mills that it had just purchased from around the Hoppough pond in Hemlock NY.

Livonia Gazette


1885 - A Suggestion about the Hemlock Lake Watershed

In 1884 “Iron Point” had an opinion about what the City of Rochester should do about its reservoir at Hemlock Lake.

Livonia Gazette


1888 - A Report of Contamination at the Hemlock Lake Watershed

In 1888 George Rafter presented the results of his study of contamination in Hemlock Lake. He also expressed his concerns about causing a public health “calamity”.

Livonia Gazette


1916 - Tree Plantings at Rochester Reservoir

The City of Rochester began planting trees around Hemlock and Canadice lakes in 1916 as part of a water protection program.

Livonia Gazette


1931 - Hemlock Lake Topography

The topography of the Hemlock Lake Reservoir shows its position relative to the City of Rochester. Hemlock Lake is 38 feet higher than the tallest building in the City of Rochester.

Livonia Gazette


2010 - Hemlock reservoir land transferred to State of New York

In 2010 New York state completed the purchase of Hemlock and Canadice lakes from Rochester for $13.7 million. The transaction will preserve and protect the last two undeveloped Finger Lakes of New York State.

Democrat & Chronicle