Excessive Lead Levels Found In Boston Drinking Water


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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) – In the latest round of sampling of Boston’s drinking water, the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (BWSC) found excessive levels of lead.

The levels exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s (MassDEP) action level for lead, which is 17.4 parts per billion. BWSC said they will work with MassDEP to continue monitoring the situation and remove additional lead service lines in the water’s distribution system.

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Boston’s drinking water is provided by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). The source of the supply is lead-free when it leaves the reservoirs. However, lead can enter drinking water if it remains unused for long periods of time. It often results from pipes and plumbing that contain lead, which then dissolves into the water.

"The longer water remains in contact with plumbing materials containing lead, the greater the possibility that lead will dissolve into the drinking water," said Chief Engineer John P. Sullivan.

Therefore, water that is first drawn from a tap that has not been used for several hours may contain elevated levels of lead. The commission recommends that people who have lead pipes, or other plumbing that contains lead, to flush out their water for 30 seconds to two minutes before drinking or cooking.

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BWSC said they will help property owners with the cost of removing lead pipes through its Lead Replacement Incentive Program. The program gives owners up to $4,000 towards the cost of removing lead service lines.

More information about lead in drinking water and how to test tap water for lead can be found on the BWSC’s website

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