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Posted on: July 15, 2016

2016 Update and Information about City's Drinking Water

To: Woburn residents

From: Mayor Scott Galvin

Date: July 15, 2016

Re: City of Woburn Drinking Water Update and Information


The Woburn Water Department just completed its annual water line flushing program throughout the City. In answer to some residents questions about the presence of lead in their drinking water, we offer the following information.

The City of Woburn’s water supply is two-thirds water from the underground aquifer within the Horn Pond area, which is then filtered and treated at the Horn Pond Treatment Plant. The water supply's other one-third is supplemented by the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MWRA). Both Woburn and the MWRA follow and meet the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) and Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) strict rules and guidelines. All water sampling is done in accordance with DEP requirements.

The water provided by both the MWRA and Woburn is virtually lead-free at the source. The source of lead in drinking water is typically from lead service pipes (which connect the water mains in the street to your residence) and lead in household plumbing. In water that is corrosive, the lead can leach out in the drinking water. Both Woburn and the MWRA treat the water to reduce corrosivity. Also, in most cases, lead service lines were not installed after the 1940s. The City is aware of only two lead service lines in the water system which the City recently discovered during our water meter improvement program. These lead service lines are on the howeowners’ side of the water service line. The homeowners were made aware of the condition, and, at the time, chose not to replace the service line.

If you think you have older faucets or plumbing in your home that may contain lead, before using any tap water for drinking or cooking, flush your household water system by running the water on cold for 1 to 2 minutes or until the water temperature changes. It is especially important to flush when the water has been off for more than six hours.

Lead levels in drinking water are regulated under the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule. Because the source of lead in drinking water is typically from service pipes or household plumbing, the Lead and Copper Rule requires that samples for rule compliance be taken from household residences, rather than at the water source.

Woburn tests the drinking water for lead levels annually in 35 homes across the City and in the Woburn Public Schools, as required by the DEP and EPA. The EPA requires that no more than 10 percent of the samples contain lead levels above 15 parts per billion. For the testing completed in 2015, none of the sampling results were near or above that threshold.


You should be aware that anytime improvements are made to our drinking water system, we are required by the DEP to file a permit that details the proposed changes. The DEP reviews this permit for compliance with all drinking water standards and guidelines prior to providing their approval for the work. This is one of the many safeguards to help protect your drinking water quality in Massachusetts.

Below are some links that provide more information about lead in drinking water.

Information from the MWRA:
http://www.mwra.state.ma.us/04water/html/qual6leadinfo.htm


Information from the DEP:
http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/water/drinking/overview-of-lead-in-massachusetts-drinking-water.html

Information from the EPA:
http://www.epa.gov/your-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water

The City of Woburn invests annually in water system capital improvements. Since 2007, we have invested $48 million of capital improvements in our drinking water system, and, over the next five years, we plan to spend approximately $1 million annually.

If you have any questions, please contact the Public Works Department at 781-897-5945, Monday through Friday between 7:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., or the Mayor’s Office at 781-897-5901.

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