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MWRA Writing Contest Winners 2005-2006
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

3rd Place Winner, Grades 3-5

Nick Petchell, Grade 5
St. Mary of the Hills School
Milton, MA

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MWRA -- No Magic About It!

Ta-da! Crystal, clear, water at the flick of my wrist. Nope, I am not a magician! I am one of the 2.5 million people that MWRA brings water to each day! It's not magic that almost 1 million homes are hooked into this amazing water system. MWRA works hard and cares about what they do. A lot of things happen before and after we turn on our faucets. Like most people, I take almost all those things for granted, and don't even think of them. But after learning about the MWRA, I know if they didn't happen, or if they stopped happening, I would notice them.

Clear water, fluoride for teeth, clean oceans, clear beaches and fresh smelling air along the shore, are things that I enjoy. God gave us these things, but the MWRA helps us keep them that way. My parents told me of the years when people couldn't swim at our beaches, and how bad it could smell around Boston harbor at times. That was before 1985 when the MWRA started to make things better, much better!

The MWRA water delivery system is very amazing. My home is connected to the Quabbin Reservoir that is located 75 miles away. Driving 75 miles in a car takes about 1.5 hours, like getting to the Cape. Having water the minute I turn on the faucet, when it comes from so far away, takes a lot of planning. It also takes effort to keep it all working. If just one pipe broke, an entire neighborhood could not get their water. The MWRA has a system that brings water in and out of about 50 communities, and it also has the technology to monitor all those areas to keep on the look out for problems. If they find even one small leak it needs attention immediately, so that it does not turn into a major catastrophe.

Water is very important to me and how I get my water makes a difference for many reasons. The MWRA has a special Water Quality Program. This program makes sure that the water is tested. The tests are done daily and compared every month and every year to watch for changes. The tests look at things like color and taste, how much lead is in the water, and if other chemicals that could hurt people drinking or using the water are present. I drink a lot of water and think that the water from my tap tastes almost as good as any bottle water I buy because of all the things the MWRA does before that water gets to my house.

I also love swimming and skating and both of these things use water. I would not like to swim in dirty water and it could be bad for my health. Another part of the MWRA is taking away used, dirty water. This is done through the sewer park of their work. They make sure sewers empty out into a treatment plant and the water is disinfected before it is moved out past the Boston Harbor in a special tunnel. This is done to prevent our beaches and wetlands from being polluted. Before the new sewer system was built, the beaches along South Boston and the South Shore were very dirty with waste. Since the new systems were built at Deer island and Nut Island we don't have so many problems and the beaches are not closed as much during the summer.

I never really understood all the things that need to happen to get good, clean water to my house, and then to take it away after we use it. I don't think most of the 2.5 million people really know either. Most of the people know it is not magic that makes their water appear but they don't know all the plans, the tests, the treatment centers the MWRA operates to get them great water and take it away while protecting the waters. We sure are lucky that the MWRA is as good as they are at what they do. They make it all look easy, like magic.

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