Monthly Water Quality Test Results
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
1996, MWRA has provided a monthly Water Quality Update to local water
suppliers, public health officials, water consumers, and other interested
parties. The monthly update provides a more detailed review of water quality than
the annual water quality report that is mailed each June to every customer
in our service area. The annual report at right provides a good overview
of where the water comes from, how it is treated and tested, and what
the tests show.
youve read the annual report, you may want more detail which can
be found in the monthly data. If you would like a monthly e-mail notification
alerting you to when the latest Update is posted, with highlights and
a link to the web version, please call (617) 242-5323 or email Joshua
Das, Project Manager, Public Health.
The following is a brief description of what is included in the monthly
MWRA routinely uses six general indicators of water
(bacteria and algae)
(pH and alkalinity)
(inorganic and organic)
are conducted on water sampled at the source reservoirs (source water)
and also on water after treatment and sampled from MWRA or community lines
(treated water). Testing frequencies vary by parameter.
Total coliform bacteria are monitored in both source and treated water
to provide an indication of overall bacteriological activity. Daily results
are shown for Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs. Also, results are available
for the Norumbega Reservoir, a storage reservoir in Weston soon to be
phased out. Total coliform results are listed by community as well.
Algal levels in the Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs are listed. These
levels are monitored by MDC and MWRA, and along with taste and odor complaints,
are used to make decisions on source water treatment for algae control.
Turbidity is a measure of suspended and colloidal particles including
clay, silt, organic and inorganic matter, algae, and microorganisms. It
is one measure of overall water quality. Turbidity is measured continually
at both Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs.
order to minimize the leaching of lead and copper in home plumbing systems,
the pH, or corrosivity, is monitored and adjusted. Water provided by MWRA
is basically lead free when it leaves the reservoirs but household plumbing
can contain lead that can enter tap water through corrosion and leaching.
MWRA now treats the water at the Interim Corrosion Control (ICC) facility
with sodium carbonate (soda ash) and CO2 (carbon dioxide) to increase
the pH and buffering capacity of the water. This has considerably reduced
lead levels found when you first use your tap. Bi-monthly pH results are
available in the Update.
For more on Corrosivity/Lead go to Lead
in Drinking Water or Disinfectant
Changes and pH Levels.
Disinfectant Residual: Since July 2005, MWRA
has treated water with
ozone instead of chlorine for primary disinfection. Community disinfection
residual levels are listed within the Update.
Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and Haloacetic Acids (HAAs) are
by-products of disinfection treatment with chlorine. Chlorination levels,
the presence of organic precursors, pH levels, the contact time of water
with chlorine used for disinfection, and temperature all affect TTHM and
HAA levels. Running annual averages and high, low, 90th, and 10th percentiles
are available within the Update.
Mineral Analysis: Further results
on minerals and other water quality parameters are available at six locations
in the MWRA transmission system. These results reflect "a snapshot" in time and may not represent typical conditions.
learn about MWRA's testing and analytical capabilities go to: Laboratory
November 22, 2013