West Boylston Water District

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Water Quality

Water Treatment

The quality of water pumped and distributed by the West Boylston Water District meets or surpasses United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) primary drinking water guidelines and regulation.  Both EPA and DEP require that the water be tested regularly.

The water within the water supply of the West Boylston Water District is treated at each water source prior to distribution.

  • 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.

Water Testing

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 EPA's Ground 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 - from a variety of sources such as agricultural, storm-water runoff and residential uses.
  • Organic chemical contaminants - including 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.

Testing Results

The results of water quality testing are contained in the Annual Consumer Report.  Please see our Reports page for the most recent report. 

Manganese Information

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.


Copyright 2004 - West Boylston Water District