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MWRA Writing Contest Winners 2005-2006
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

1st Place Winner, Grades 6-8

Samantha Kiley, Grade 8
St. Mary's Jr./Sr. High School, Lynn, MA

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A Long Trip to Our Faucets

I live in Lynn, Massachusetts and our water is very clean. I know lots of people who buy gallons and gallons of bottled water each week. I guess it's because they don't trust that their drinking water is clean. The Lynn Water and Sewer Commission sends out a newsletter that tells about all the testing they do and the facts about the quality of our water supply. But like so many other things, it's something that you just take for granted in your everyday life. I can honestly say I've never thought about where our water comes from or how it gets to my house. I now realize that our water takes a long trip to get to our faucet.

The water gets collected, purified, and delivered for people to use. Since January 1989, Lynn's drinking water has been treated in a new, direct filtration facility where the water meets all regulations. Lynn is very lucky to have an extensive independent water supply, including watershed lands stretching as far as the Ipswich River. The water supply comes from a series of interconnected reservoirs Hawkes Pond, Walden Pond, Birch Pond, and Breeds Pond with withdrawals from the Saugus and Ipswich rivers.

Raw water from the reservoir system is treated with chemicals and filtered to remove small particles and organisms that could cause unpleasant odors and taste to the water. The water is pre-disinfected with chlorine dioxide because it needs to rid organic compounds and anything that could potentially cause a disease so no one will get sick. All water contains solids, some dissolve in the water and others stay as tiny particles. The water from the reservoirs is mixed with "alum" which makes the small particles stick together and settle for removal. The water then flows through six filters. Each filter is made of 4 feet of activated carbon, 1 foot of sand and 1 foot of gravel on top of a 1 foot porous filter block. Each filter is cleaned at least once a day.

As the final step of treatment, the filtered water is transferred through two water flumes. The filtered water then flows through controlling basins where it is treated again with chemicals such as chlorine for disinfection. It also has fluoride added to it to prevent cavities and tooth decay, and zinc orthophosphate and caustic soda for corrosion control. The treated water then goes to the 20 million gallon covered and lined Low Service Storage Reservoir. The treated Water either moves into the low service distribution system that services 70 percent of Lynn, or I gets pumped up to the high service distribution center that services 30 percent of Lynn that cannot be reached by gravity flow from the plant. The treated water is brought to Lynn's customers through 200 miles of pipe. Tests are performed weekly at 22 points of the distribution system.

The MWRA also helps Lynn out. It supplies water to the General Electric Company and is our backup water in case of an emergency. Their water comes from the Quabbin Reservoir and the Wachusett Reservoir. The MWRA supplies water to local water departments in 45 communities in Massachusetts and is the backup supply to 2 communities other than Lynn.

Lynn has some of the cleanest water around. It serves 90,000 water customers. I am so thankful to have such clean water.

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