Massachusetts Water Resources Authority


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March 27, 2000

Northborough To See Changes In Drinking Water Supply

Upgrades to the drinking water systems of both the Town Of Northborough and The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority will change the chemistry and distribution of Northborough’s drinking water. These changes will take place in two phases.

First, for approximately one month, beginning on April 15, MWRA will shut down its Wachusett Aqueduct in preparation for repairs to be made in the fall of 2000. The aqueduct currently distributes untreated water from MWRA’s Wachusett Reservoir to supplement the town’s own ground water supply. During this time, Northborough will be partially supplied with treated MWRA drinking water via Marlborough at a temporary connection at the Solomon Pond Mall Road.

For the first of these three weeks, Northborough residents may experience water discoloration due to flow reversals. While this poses no health hazard and is safe for consumption, residents may wish to store several gallons of water, prior to the 15th for drinking and cooking purposes. In addition, residents should avoid washing white or light colored clothing in washing machines for this period of time.

The second phase will take place in November, 2000. The construction of MWRA’s new Walnut Hill Water Treatment Plant and the repair of the Wachusett Aqueduct together with water treatment upgrades to be undertaken by Northborough itself, the town will, for four years, receive 100 percent MWRA water.

Since the water will be drawn from MWRA’s distribution system, the chemistry of the water will differ. MWRA’s water has a higher pH to control pipeline corrosion and contains fluoride in accordance to US Public Health Service guidelines. Instead of "free" chlorine disinfection, which is what Northborough currently uses to treat its water, the town will receive water that has been treated with a combination of chlorine and ammonia (chloramine). Chloramine is a very effective residual disinfectant that minimizes the amount of chlorine used while providing continuous protection against bacteria as water moves through the community pipes to the tap.

MWRA communities within metropolitan Boston have used chloramine since the 1930’s. Water treated with chloramine is perfectly safe for human consumption, but may be harmful to fish and other aquatic animals. Aquatic pet owners should consult their local pet store professional to find out how to test for and remove chloramine from fish tanks or ponds.

If you have any questions regarding these changes or experience discolored water, please call the Northborough Water Department at (508) 393-5030 or the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority at (617) 242-5323.