Yes, you can drink Lake George's water. Many of the homes around Lake George draw drinking water from the Lake!
The Department of Environmental Conservation's Water Quality Standards Program sets water quality standards and guidance values for waters throughout New York State. This state program, with federal oversight from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, assigns a letter classification to denote the best uses of all the waters in New York State.
Lake George is rated Class AA-Special — the highest rating that exists.
Letter classes such as A, B, C, and D are assigned to fresh surface waters, and SA, SB, SC, I, and SD to saline surface waters. The best uses determined by the classification include:
- drinking water,
- fishing, and
New York State regulations define Class AA-Special as:
- Class AA-Special waters are best used as a source of water supply for drinking, culinary or food processing purposes; primary and secondary contact recreation; and fishing. The waters shall be suitable for fish, shellfish, and wildlife propagation and survival.
- These waters shall contain no floating solids, settleable solids, oil, sludge deposits, toxic wastes, deleterious substances, colored or other wastes or heated liquids attributable to sewage, industrial wastes or other wastes.
- There shall be no discharge or disposal of sewage, industrial wastes or other wastes into these waters.
- These waters shall contain no phosphorus and nitrogen in amounts that will result in growths of algae, weeds and slimes that will impair the waters for their best usages.
- There shall be no alteration to flow that will impair the waters for their best usages.
- There shall be no increase in turbidity that will cause a substantial visible contrast to natural conditions.
For more info about NYS surface and groundwater classifications, go to Chapter X, Part 701 of the regulations on the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation website.