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Massachusetts Water Resources Authority


March 9, 2022


Ria Convery
(617) 788-11105,

EWG Report on Drinking Water

You may have seen news coverage of a report called the EWG Tap Water Database.  The report/website was issued by the environmental advocacy group Environmental Working Group (EWG) about drinking water across the US. This advocacy group’s website includes testing data collected by water systems and reported to state and federal drinking water regulators. EWG did not do their own testing, nor is the data “news” – all of the information has already been publicly reported, and in many cases, like MWRA and its member communities, is available on the water system’s own web site.

What the Environmental Working Group did do, was to make up its own standards and use those, rather than the science based and publicly developed EPA and MassDEP standards, for comparison with the water system data. In many cases, these EWG limits are 10 or 100 or 1000 times lower than the limits set by EPA under the Safe Drinking Water Act, allowing EWG to claim that water systems are failing to protect public health.

MWRA’s commitment to protecting public health with high quality drinking water extends from the well-protected Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs, through state-of-the art treatment at the Carroll and Brutsch treatment plants, all the way through the thousands of miles of MWRA and community pipes to the customers tap. Hundreds of thousands of tests taken each year ensure that the water delivered to customers meets all state and federal public health standards.  Recognizing that the quality of the infrastructure can affect water quality, MWRA has been providing zero interest loans to our customer communities to rehabilitate old, cast iron water mains for over 25 years, and launched a $100 million loan program to help communities remove lead service lines in 2016.

MWRA meets all the federal EPA and state DEP drinking water standards and in the vast majority of cases cannot even detect the contaminants. And when they are detected, MWRA is typically well below the standards. Our goal is to be as close to zero as reasonably possible. MWRA posts our  annual water quality report on our web site providing all of our customers with the information they need to judge for themselves the high quality of MWRA’s water. MWRA is not content to just meet the legal minimum for reporting on drinking water quality. Each month, MWRA publishes and posts a highly detailed report on all aspects of drinking water testing and treatment.

Information on MWRA’s water system, test results, and treatment facilities can be found at Customers can also sign-up to receive these and other MWRA reports, or call MWRA’s water quality number (617) 242-5323 with any questions. If you want information about a specific item in the EWG website for a particular MWRA community, contact us at AskMWRA.


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Updated March 9, 2022