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June 14, 2001

MWRA, Water Suppliers Release Annual Tap Water Quality Reports To State Environmental, Public Health Chiefs

New MWRA Executive Director Frederick A. Laskey released the agency’s 2000 Report on Your Tap Water to state environmental and public health commissioners at a press conference Thursday. Joined by other water suppliers at the new Cambridge Water Treatment Plant, Laskey presented the annual before it is mailed later this week to over 800,000 households in 40 MWRA communities. The annual report, called the "Consumer Confidence Report" is a requirement for all public water suppliers across the country. It contains information where the water comes from, how it is treated and tested, and what the test results are and what they mean.

"We hope that all consumers will open the Report on Tap Water with the girl drinking water on the cover and take the time to look at the test results," said Laskey. "We hope the information contained in this report will reinforce consumers’ confidence about the MWRA water system and the water delivered from it. We test it thousands of times each week from the reservoirs all the way to the tap."

"Consumer Confidence Reports are vital in getting the word out to consumers that Massachusetts residents are continuously assured of some of the cleanest, safest drinking water in the nation," said DEP Commissioner Lauren Liss. "This year’s MWRA Consumer Confidence Report once again delivers this good news to more than two million residents of Greater Boston" Liss added.

Commissioner Liss outlined DEP’s role in regulating water suppliers, requiring rigorous testing for quality assurance, and providing grant and loan funds for water infrastructure projects. Liss said that "Good, clean water at the tap requires, of course, first-rate treatment and distribution systems, infrastructure exemplified today by the remarkable new Cambridge Water Treatment Plant here at Fresh Pond."

Department of Public Health Commissioner Howard Koh called the Consumer Confidence Reports " a crucial step to informing millions of Massachusetts residents about the quality of their tap water. The best way to gain consumer confidence is to provide water quality information in a clear, concise report and be ready to respond to questions," stated Koh.

Commissioner Koh applauded efforts made by MWRA and public health officials at the state and local level to increase dialog and research on drinking water issues. Koh noted that "MWRA has made a major commitment to strengthening ties between the water, public health, and academic communities to make sure we maintain a strong water system for the future."

Sam Corda, Managing Director of the Cambridge Water Department, hosted the event at the city’s new treatment plant at Fresh Pond. Cambridge owns and operates a water system separate from MWRA, and is now finishing and the 2 _ year construction of new plant that replaced a old plant dating back to 1922. The state’s State Revolving Fund Program provided the city with $24.7 million in loans to help finance the project. Corda called the annual report "the best way to truly inform our customers and ratepayers what is in, and not in, their drinking water and how the city is working to protect its quality."

MWRA is building a new water treatment in Marlborough to serve 2.2 million people in metro Boston and the metroWest region. The new plant, a 18 mile long MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel, and a new 115 million gallon storage tank along the Mass Pike in Weston, will all be complete and in-service by early 2004.

Nan Crossland, Director of the Dedham-Westwood Water District and board member of the New England Water Works Association, released her water district’s report at the event. "Smaller water suppliers, including hundreds of water suppliers in the six New England states, have also spent a great amount of effort developing their annual reports," said Crossland. "We want consumers to take a few minutes once a year to review the report, call or email with questions, and hopefully relax about their drinking for the rest of the year."

MWRA’s annual report features a girl drinking water on the cover. It will be mailed out to 800,000 households including apartments over the next two weeks.