The quality of water pumped and distributed by the West
Boylston Water District meets or surpasses
States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
primary drinking water guidelines and regulation.
Both EPA and DEP require that the water be tested
The water within the water supply of the West Boylston
Water District is treated at each water source prior to
- Potassium hydroxide is injected to elevate the
pH of the water. This helps control corrosion.
- Sodium polyphosphate is added to sequester iron
and manganese, which tend to stain fixtures.
- Chlorine was added during 2004 and part of 2005 to eliminate
some bacteria that was found during monthly testing.
While it is not added at this time, we will treat
our water with chlorine in the future if needed.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP) prescribe regulations that limit the
amount of certain contaminants in water provided by
public water systems. Therefore they require that
water in public water supplies be tested regularly to
ensure that tap water is safe to drink. A
certified laboratory performs all tests and the results
are reported to the DEP. Tests for bacterial
contamination are performed monthly; tests for other
contaminates are performed annually or at a frequency
determined by the DEP.
Drinking water, including bottled water, may
reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts
of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants
does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health
risk. However, some people may be more vulnerable
to contaminants than the general population. More
information about contaminants and potential health
effects can be found at the
Water and Drinking Water web site.
Substances Found in Drinking Water
Sources of drinking water, both bottled and tap,
include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs,
springs and wells. As water travels over the
surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves
naturally occurring minerals, and possibly, radioactive
materials. It can pick up substances resulting
from the presence of animals and human activity.
Contaminants that may be in drinking water include:
- Microbial contaminants -
such as viruses
and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment
plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock
operations and wildlife.
- Inorganic contaminants -
such as salts
and metals. These can be naturally-occurring
or result from urban storm-water runoff, industrial
or domestic waste-water discharges, oil and gas
production, mining or farming.
- Pesticides and herbicides -
variety of sources such as agricultural, storm-water
runoff and residential uses.
- Organic chemical contaminants -
synthetic and volatile organic chemicals. They
are byproducts of industrial and petroleum
production or can come from gas stations,
storm-water runoff and septic systems.
- Radioactive contaminants -
which can be
naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas
production and mining activities.
The results of water quality testing are contained in
the Annual Consumer Report. Please see our
Reports page for the most recent report.
The Oakdale Well continues to maintain a high level of Manganese. This element that has been occurring naturally within the ground is one of the top priority concerns of the District. We have been limiting the use of this well to only a few hours each day to try lower the manganese levels in the system. We are also working with the MassDEP at their request to try to reduce the levels of Manganese in the water system. We have increased our monitoring to include monthly samples for Manganese at the wells, tanks and other areas of the distribution system. The District has been actively looking for either a new source of water and/or other manganese treatment options for the Oakdale Well.
Manganese - is a naturally occurring mineral found in rocks, soil and groundwater, and surface water. Manganese is necessary for proper nutrition and is part of a healthy diet, but can have undesirable effects on certain sensitive populations at elevated concentrations.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and MassDEP have set an aesthetics-based Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (SMCL) for manganese of 50 ug/L (micrograms per liter), or 50 parts per billion, and health advisory levels. In addition, MassDEP’s Office of Research and Standards (ORS) has set a drinking water guideline for manganese (ORSG), which closely follows the EPA public health advisory for manganese.
Drinking water may naturally have manganese and, when concentrations are greater than 50 μg/L, the water may be discolored and taste bad. Over a lifetime, the EPA recommends that people drink water with manganese levels less than 300 ug/L and over the short term, EPA recommends that people limit their consumption of water with levels over 1000 ug/L, primarily due to concerns about possible neurological effects. Children up to 1 year of age should not be given water with manganese concentrations over 300 ug/L, nor should formula for infants be made with that water for longer than 10 days.
The ORSG differs from the EPA’s health advisory because it expands the age group to which a lower manganese concentration applies from children less than 6 months of age to children up to 1 year of age to address concerns about children’s susceptibility to manganese toxicity.
See: EPA Drinking Water Health Advisory for Manganese and MassDEP Office of Research and Standards Guideline (ORSG) for Manganese.
For more information see the MassDEP Fact Sheet, Manganese in Drinking Water: Questions and Answers for Consumers.