- Allison Goldsberry
Overall, the report was positive and found the water free of 120 contaminants. The MWRA credits the improved water quality to the opening of the John J. Carroll Water Treatment Plant in July 2005, which uses ozone for disinfection and processes 275 million gallons of water on an average day.
The report indicates that though lead levels have decreased system-wide, lead still continues to be present in a higher than legally authorized amount in Medford’s water.
MWRA Executive Director and Medford resident Fred Laskey said higher levels of lead are common in communities with older homes. High-end brass faucets and lead service lines that carry water into homes further compound the problem.
There are several things residents can do to minimize exposure to lead in the water. Laskey recommends running water in the morning until it turns cold because it has been sitting in pipes overnight.
Residents are also encouraged to find out if the pipes carrying water into their homes contain lead by contacting the Department of Public Works at 781-393-2475. For years the DPW has been identifying and replacing lead service lines throughout the city. Homeowners are responsible for the replacement cost of the lead service line from the curb into their homes.
For their part the MWRA has adjusted the pH and acidity of the water, a step that has led to a dramatic reduction in the amount of lead in the water since the early 90′s, when it was much higher than it is now.
Laskey said he is happy with the report because the MWRA’s water is free from 120 other contaminants and the amount of lead in the water has gone down system-wide, though it does continue to be a problem in some communities.
In other MWRA news…
This past spring McGlynn Middle School students Isabelle Thibault and Kylie Baker won the MWRA’s annual writing contest by creating clever marketing campaigns for recycled sludge, referred to in polite company as “Bay State Fertilizer.” The duo, honored at a Deer Island ceremony on May 25, bested 1,500 other entries.
McGlynn Middle School students Isabelle Thibault and Kylie Baker with teacher Madelyn Wenham and MWRA Engineering Services Manager Dan O’Brien. Photo courtesy MWRA.