I am happy to provide you with the results of our annual drinking water testing for 2021. Once again, every federal and state standard was met and the quality of your drinking water is excellent.
I also want to assure you that we are constantly checking your water. We have a state-of-the-art monitoring system from the treatment plant to your local pipes, and we take hundreds of thousands of tests each year to ensure that your water is safe. We are also closely watching other important issues that could affect our water, from climate change to cybersecurity. You can be sure that the safety of your drinking water is the top priority for the women and men of the MWRA.
We continue to take aggressive actions to reduce the risk of lead in drinking water. Since 2016, we have provided $30 million in zero-interest loans to 13 communities for full lead service line removals. System-wide, we remain below the Lead Action Level. Please read your community’s letter for more information on your local water system.
PFAS - or ‘forever chemicals’ – remain a top news story. Since our source water is so well protected, our water easily meets the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s standards.
Last year, we welcomed two new communities to our water system: Ashland and Burlington. Our reservoirs have ample supplies to meet the needs of our service area; but, it is important that we all conserve water wherever possible. This is our most precious resource and we cannot afford to waste it.
I hope you will take a moment to read this report. We have great confidence in the water we deliver to your homes and businesses, and we want you to as well. Please contact us if you have any questions or comments about your water quality, or any of MWRA’s programs.
Frederick A. Laskey
For more information on MWRA and its Board of Directors, visit www.mwra.com
While the pandemic continued to impact health and supply lines in 2021, MWRA’s drinking water continued to meet all federal and state standards. MWRA staff carried out ongoing, uninterrupted treatment, sampling, testing, planning, and monitoring to ensure the continuous delivery of pure drinking water to all our customers. This annual water quality report illustrates MWRA’s ongoing efforts to ensure the provision of your water under all conditions.
Your Annual Water Quality Report This annual water quality report provides CVA consumers of MWRA water with important information on water quality. MWRA also has monthly water quality reports, information on specific potential contaminants, water system updates, and more at ww.mwra.com.
At the Water Source… From the Watersheds to Your Community MWRA supplies about 7 million gallons of high quality water each day to the three Chicopee Valley Aqueduct (CVA) communities: Chicopee, Wilbraham, and the South Hadley Fire District#1 (FD#1). MWRA works with your community, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and state and federal regulators to continuously monitor your drinking water - from the reservoirs surrounded by forests and wetlands, through treatment and miles of pipelines, to your drinking water faucet.
MWRA’s work to protect the drinking water at your home or business starts at the Quabbin Reservoir. The Quabbin is the primary
source for all the water supplied to the CVA communities. The Ware River provides additional water.
The Quabbin watershed — the area that drains water to the reservoir — is naturally protected, and is an important first step in providing
you high quality water. More than 85% of the watershed is covered with forests and wetlands, which filter the rain and snow that enter the streams that flow to the reservoir. This water comes in contact with soil, rock, plants, and other material as it follows its natural path to the reservoir. This process helps to clean the water, but it also can dissolve and carry very small amounts of material into the reservoir. Minerals and rock do not typically cause problems in the water. Water can also transport contaminants, including bacteria, viruses or other potential pathogens, from human and animal activity, that can cause illness. Testing results show few contaminants are found in the reservoir water. The few that are detected are in very small amounts that are well below EPA’s standards.
MWRA and DCR maintain a nationally recognized watershed protection program. The Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Source Water Assessment report for the Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs commended DCR and MWRA for our source water protection plans. The report states that our “watershed protection programs are very successful and greatly reduce the actual risk of contamination.” MWRA and DCR follow the report recommendations to maintain the pristine watershed areas. For more information on our source water, go to:www.mwra.com/sourcewater.html.
Testing to the Tap MWRA analyzes, treats and protects the quality of your water from its source to your home or business, starting with the watershed streams, to hundreds of miles of MWRA pipes and thousands of miles of local pipes, all the way to your home. MWRA testing shows that few contaminants are found in the water from our reservoirs. All were well below EPA’s standards in 2021.
A key, initial test for reservoir water quality is turbidity, or cloudiness. Turbidity refers to the amount of suspended particles in the water and can impair water disinfection. All water must be below 5 NTU (nephelometric turbidity units), and water can only be above 1 NTU if it does not interfere with effective disinfection. In 2021, typical levels in the Wachusett Reservoir were 0.29 NTU, with the highest level of turbidity at 0.61 NTU, well below the standard.
MWRA also tests water for potential disease-causing organisms, including fecal coliform bacteria, and parasites such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium, that can enter the water from animal or human waste. All test results for the reservoir water were well within state and federal testing and treatment standards.
Water Quality After Treatment 2021
(MCL) Highest Level Allowed
Range of Detections
Ideal Goal (MCLG)
How It Gets in the Water
0.006 - 0.006
Common mineral in nature
0.05 - 0.83
Water Quality in Community Systems
Local Tests for 2021
Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs) in ppb
MCL = 80 ppb (Avg)
(HAA5) in ppb
MCL = 60 ppb (Avg)
Chlorine in ppm
MRDL = 4 ppm (Avg)
MRDLG = 4 ppm
Sodium in ppm
24.3 - 64.9
15.8 - 55.7
0.02 - 1.13
South Hadley FD #1
30.6 - 92.9
11.8 - 41.2
0.03 - 1.03
37 - 56.4
9.1 - 33.0
0.20 - 0.90
KEY: MCL = Maximum Contaminant Level. The highest level of a contaminant allowed in water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available technology. MCLG = Maximum Contaminant Level Goal. The level of contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a magrin of safety. MRDL = Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level. The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants. MRDLG = Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal. The level of a drinking water disinfectant below which there is no known or expected health risk. MRDLGs do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contamination. ppm = parts per million. ppb = parts per billion. NS = no standard. ND = non-detect. ^ = As required by DEP, the maximum result is reported for nitrate.
Monitoring Water, Start to Finish
MWRA analyzes, treats and protects the quality of your water from its source in the Quabbin Reservoir to your home or business. MWRA’s laboratories conduct hundreds of thousands of tests on the water your community receives from MWRA every year, for over 120 potential contaminants. All results were well below EPA’s standards in 2021.
Downstream of the reservoir, MWRA’s Brutsch Water Treatment Facility provides state of the art treatment and monitoring of your water. Well trained and licensed operators add measured doses of treatment chemicals to improve the quality of your
Conservation, Climate Change, and Your Reservoirs MWRA works with the communities we serve to promote water conservation. Efficient and wise use of our water keeps it available for the future. We monitor stream flow, reservoir levels and climate forecasts to ensure reliable supply under all conditions, including droughts and major storms. The engineers and planners who designed our supply left us a robust, reliable, system for the future.
MWRA water use has dropped by over a third since the 1980s. It's up to all of us to continue to use water wisely. Every drop counts. our web site has many tips on how to save water indoors and outside.
water. Additional water treatment includes:
Ultraviolet light (UV), a natural, but more powerful form of natural disinfection than sunlight, renders pathogens non-infectious.
Chrlorine protects the water as it travels through miles of pipelines to your home.
Each community treats the water to reduce the leaching of lead from home plumbing.
Chicopee performs additional booster disinfection at the point where the local pipes take water from the MWRA aqueduct.
Evaluating Local Water Systems
Water conditions can change within your town’s distribution system. Each community tests for contaminants that can vary within community pipes. MWRA also works with the three CVA communities to test water samples in local piping each week for total coliform and E. coli bacteria. Total coliform bacteria can come from the intestines of warm-blooded animals, or can also be found in soil, plants or other places. Most of the time these bacteria are not harmful; however, their presence in water can indicate that harmful bacteria from fecal waste may
be there as well. If total coliform is detected in more than 5% of samples in a month, the water system is required to investigate the possible source and fix any identified problems. If a water sample does test positive, we run more specific tests for E. coli, which is a bacteria found in human and animal fecal waste and may cause illness. No E. coli was found in any CVAcommunity water in 2021.
Information on PFAS Testing
PFAS, or per- and polyfluoralkyl substances, have been used since the 1950s for many products — stains, water proofing, firefighting equipment and other applications. These chemicals are an environmental concern, and have been linked to significant health risks.
In 2020, the MassDEP published a drinking water standard for PFAS based on six PFAS compounds, or PFAS6. Tests of MWRA water in our reservoirs showed only trace amounts of these compounds, well below the new State
maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 20 parts per trillion. For more information on PFAS, go to: www.mwra.com.
Watershed Protection: Keeping Your Source Water Safe
85% of land is wetland or forest
150,000 acres of permanently protected land
Ongoing monitoring of watershed by DCR staff
Continuous testing of source water by MWRA
Watershed lands of protected from harmful development
Preventing lead exposure is particularly important if a pregnant woman or a child lives in your home or apartment. Lead can also impact the health of your entire family. While lead poisoning frequently comes from exposure to lead paint dust or chips, lead in drinking water can also contribute to chronic, total lead exposure. Learn about the health impacts of lead, and how to reduce exposure to this toxic metal that could be in your drinking water, on the following pages.
How Lead Can Enter Your Water
Lead can enter your tap water from your service line (the line that connects your home to the water main) if it is made of lead, lead solder used in plumbing, or from some older faucets.
Lead in your home plumbing or service line can contribute to elevated lead levels in the water you drink. MWRA’s water is lead-free when it leaves our reservoirs. Distribution pipes that carry the water to your community are made mostly of iron and steel, and do not add lead to the water.
Corrosion, or wearing away of lead-based materials can add lead to tap water, especially if water sits for a long time in the pipes before it is used. Each CVA community adjusts the water chemistry to reduce corrosion. See what your community does to reduce corrosion in the Community Updates section and the results in the table below.
Important Lead Information From EPA
If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water comes primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. MWRA is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. If your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 or www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.
What is An Action Level? An Action Level is the amount of lead that requires action to reduce exposure. If your home or school’s drinking water is above the lead Action Level, additional steps to reduce lead may be required. If more than 10% of your community’s samples were over the lead Action Level, your local water department is taking action to address the problem.
CVA Communities Meet Lead Standard
Under EPA and DEP rules, your local water
department is required to test tap water in homes likely to be at risk for high lead levels, such as homes with lead solder. The EPA Lead and Copper rule requires that 9 out of 10 homes tested must have lead levels below the Action Level of 15 parts per billion (ppb). This testing process can provide information on whether lead is corroding and mixing with the drinking water. The results do not reflect lead levels in every home. All three of the CVA communities meet the lead Action Level.
How Lead Affects Health and Development
Lead affects young children, and may cause
damage to the brain, slow growth and development, and learning and behavior problems. Preventing lead exposure is particularly important if a pregnant woman or a child lives in your home or apartment. Lead can also impact the health of your entire family. While lead poisoning frequently comes from exposure to lead paint dust or chips, lead in drinking water can also contribute to chronic, total lead exposure.
Local Tests for Lead and Copper
Lead in ppb
AL = 15 ppb MCLG = 0
Copper in ppb
AL = 1300 ppb MCLG = 0
# Samples over AL
# Samples over AL
South Hadley FD #1
AL = Action Level - The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow. ppb = parts per billion *Sampled in 2019
Lead Service Lines
A service line connects your home or building to the water main in the street. If yours is made of lead, it can be the main source of lead in your tap water. Older pipes that combined galvanized iron and lead connectors (“goosenecks”) can also release lead. Lead services lines should be removed entirely to prevent lead in your drinking water.
Your local water department can help find out if you have a lead service line, and provide help in replacing it. In some cases, an onsite check is necessary to determine the specific piping to your building.
You can also see if your service line is made of lead by scratching the pipe near your water meter with a key or other metal object. Lead pipes will show a dull grey color, while copper pipes will not. For an online how-to guide, go to www.epa.gov/pyt.
MWRA Funding to Replace Lead Service Lines
MWRA and its Advisory Board offer zero-interest loans to customer communities for full lead service line replacement projects. Each MWRA community can develop its own local plan, and many communities have already taken steps to remove lead service lines. To find out more, contact your local water department.
3 Ways to Reduce Lead in Your Water
Remove your lead service line
Run your water before using
Use a filter certified to remove lead
Reduce Your Exposure to Lead
Remove Lead Piping
Find out if you have a lead service line or lead components in your plumbing. Learn about options for removal of this piping from your local water department.
Any time water has not been used for more than 6 hours, run the faucet used for drinking water or cooking until after the water becomes cold.
Let water run before using it—fresh water is better than stale. To save water, fill a pitcher with fresh water and place it in the refrigerator for future use.
Never use hot water from the faucet for drinking or cooking, especially when making baby formula or other food for infants or young children.
Remove loose lead solder and debris. Every few months, remove the aerator from each faucet and flush the pipes for 3 to 5 minutes.
Be careful of places where you may find lead in or near your home. Paint, soil, dust and pottery may contain lead. Call the Massachusetts Department of Public Health at 1-800-532-9571 or 1-800-424-LEAD for information on lead and health impacts.
How to Test Your Drinking Water
If you are concerned about lead piping in your home, contact your local water department about testing for lead in your drinking water. MWRA also maintains a list of certified laboratories and sampling instructions on our website at www.mwra.com. You may also call MWRA at 617-242-5323.
Lead Testing in Schools
Children can consume most of their drinking water at school or daycare. The plumbing inside some schools and childcare facilities can contain lead and contribute to lead exposure. MWRA, in coordination with DEP, provides no-cost lab analysis and technical assistance for schools and day care centers in MWRA communities. This service has been offered since 2016, and nearly all MWRA communities have participated. To date, more than 39,000 tests have been completed in more than 530 schools. Results are available on the MassDEP website at: www.mass.gov/dep (search for “lead in schools”). You may also contact your local school or water department for results.
Monitoring All Day, Every Day
MWRA's monitoring systems are in operation continuously, 24/7/365. The systems help us evaluate your water before and after treatment. They also help us determin if the water is free of contaminants, and to respond rapidly to changes or issues related to water quality.
Important Research for New Regulations
MWRA works with EPA and health research organizations to help define new national drinking water standards by collecting data on water contaminants that are not yet regulated. Very few of these potential contaminants are found in MWRA water due to our source water protection efforts. Information on this testing, as well as data on PFAS, disinfection by-products, Giardia and Cryptosporidium, and other contaminants can be found at www.mwra.com.
Important Health Information: Drinking Water and People with Weakened Immune Systems
Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants, can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the EPA’s
Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791).
EPA Information on Bottled Water and Tap Water
Complaints Are Important!
You can help provide information about local water quality. Every call is investigated. Most complaints are related to discolored water (usually related to local construction or hydrant use), or conditions in a building’s plumbing. Contact your local water department, or call MWRA at (617) 242-5323.
Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (1-800-426-4791) or MWRA. In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the Massachusetts DEP and the EPA prescribe regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water, which must provide the same protection for public health.
Funding for System Rehabilitation
MWRA provides zero-interest loans to communities for pipeline
rehabilitation and other water quality improvements. During 2021, we loaned $28 million in loans to 18 communities for pipeline projects and
$11 million to 8 communities for lead service line replacements.
Cross-Connection Information A cross-connection is any temporary or permanent connection between a potable (drinking) water source and a non-potable source. Non-potable water or other sources can contaminate your drinking water if backflow occurs.Massachusetts DEP recommends the installation of backflow prevention devices for inside and outside hose connections to help protect the water in your home as well as the drinking water system in your town. For more information on cross-connections, please call 617-242-5323 or visit www.mwra.com.
MWRA Wins the MassDEP Public Water Systems Award
The Department of Environmental Protection awarded a Public Water System Award to MWRA in 2021, recognizing MWRA's continued excellent level of performance and compliance with all drinking water standards.
Though 2021 has been a challenging year for all, various water system upgrades and additions have been made including: Approximately 7600 feet of 12” ductile iron pipe has been installed on Fuller Rd and 1000 feet of 24” ductile iron pipe on the Veteran’s Bridge and East Main
St. Accompanying the new water mains, 18
new hydrants, 5 fire sprinkler lines, and 8 new domestic services were installed into the system. These system upgrades have improved the flow capacity for all residences and fire protection needs in the project areas, as well as improved redundancy in the system by eliminating
aging infrastructure. Additionally, Chicopee continued its meter modernization program for residential and commercial meters.
The Chicopee Water Department’s Corrosion Control Facility continues to provide excellent water quality by adjusting the water’s pH and alkalinity levels. Sodium Carbonate and Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda) are used to make
this adjustment. A phosphate blend also adds an extra level of protection by further reducing corrosion throughout the system. The benefits of these treatment processes are evident in the reduced levels of dissolved metals such as lead, copper, and iron in the city’s water supply.
For disinfection, Chicopee now uses Sodium Hypochlorite in place of the previously used (and much more hazardous) chlorine gas.
This change was made in an effort to increase safety for the treatment plant operators and the residents of Chicopee.
Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, water samples must be collected specifically for the analysis of lead and copper. Household plumbing is the main contributor of these metals in our drinking water and the water’s chemistry
is adjusted to minimize corrosion well before it reaches the homes of Chicopee’s residents.
In 2021, Chicopee collected 30 samples for the analysis of lead and copper in Chicopee’s drinking water. There were no homes with
a lead result above the lead action level of 15 ppb, and the 90th percentile value was 1.4 ppb. There were no homes with copper results above the copper action level of 1300 ppb, and the 90th percentile value was 127 ppb. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reduced the number of samples that must be collected by the Chicopee Water Department due to its successful maintenance of low to absent levels of lead and copper in the water system. The next round of lead and copper samples will be collected in the spring of 2024.
For more information on your drinking water, or to find out about public meetings, please go to our website at: www.chicopeema.gov or call us at (413) 594-3557.
South Hadley Fire District #1
South Hadley – Fire District No.1 has been fortunate to be one of the original 40 member communities to join the MDC (now MWRA) system in 1951. We value our relationship along with the many resources the MWRA has to offer us, including testing and technical assistance regarding changing drinking water standards.
MWRA drinking water is disinfected at the Brutsch Water Treatment facility with two primary disinfectants, ultraviolet light
(primary disinfection) and sodium hypochlorite (secondary disinfection). The South Hadley Water Department carries out booster chlorination at our Alvord St. Water Tank seasonally between the months of June and November each year. Corrosion control is carried out through treatment of the water with sodium silicate at our Treatment Facility on Fuller St. in Ludlow. This treatment is required by the Mass DEP’s Lead and Copper Rule to reduce lead and copper in drinking water.
Our last lead and copper sampling round occurred in June of 2019, and our 90th percentile for lead was 6.84 ppb, which was below the Action Level of 15 ppb, and the 90th percentile for Copper was 6.41 ppb, which was below the Action Level of 1300 ppb. Our next sampling round will be completed in June of 2022 and will include 30 homes within the distribution system as well as schools and daycare facilities. Based on our records, we have no evidence of lead or galvanized service lines in our system.
During our Total Coliform Rule (TCR) sampling rounds in May, July, and November of 2021, positive coliform samples were detected.
Coliforms are bacteria that are naturally present in the environment and are used as an indicator that other, potentially harmful, waterborne pathogens may be present or that a potential pathway exists through which contamination may enter the drinking water distribution system. We found coliforms indicating the need to look for potential problems in water treatment or distribution. When this occurs, we are required to conduct an assessment to identify problems and to correct any problems that are found. During the past year we were required
to complete a Level 2 Assessment, based on the previous detection of a positive coliform sample within 12 months (in August of 2020). One Level 2 Assessment was completed. Site #015
(New Ludlow Rd. Granby) is directly on our 16” transmission main and had a coliform detection during both rounds. The cause of the violation was the use of an outside faucet for sampling. We were required to take one corrective action, which was to take water samples from inside the
building. We also had coliform detects on May 17, 2021 at McCray’s Farm (Site #012) and November 8, 2021 at the South Hadley Police Station (Site #013). The causes of the additional detections
are possibly attributed to sampling procedures considering chlorine residuals were satisfactory.
We continue to update our water mains with our replacement program. Water main replacements are prioritized by leak history, pipe type and
the annual street paving list provided by the Department of Public Works. This collaboration results in reduced costs and extending pavement integrity. This program will continue as funding and time permit.
Within our water main replacement program, we replaced 1000 ft. of 8”A.C. and 6” Cast Iron on Camden St. with 8” PVC pipe. In addition, through a Mass Works Grant the Town of South Hadley received, we will be getting 2100 ft. of 10”AC pipe replaced with PVC. This project started in the fall of 2021 and will be completed in the spring of 2022. All service connections and hydrants on both streets will be replaced as well. The new mains will provide reliability and improved fire protection.
We feel strongly that the Water Department – Fire
District No.1 has been operated very efficiently by providing the rate payers with what they expect from a municipal department at the lowest possible cost. Please take a moment to view our website with historical and frequently updated information about our Department, including Board meeting agendas, at the following address www.shdistrict1.org. You can also call our
office at 413-532-0666 or speak to Jeff Cyr, Water
Superintendent at 413-533-4576.
The Corrosion Control Facility on Miller Street in Ludlow continues to operate without issue while injecting Sodium Silicate into the drinking water in compliance with the federally mandated Lead and Copper Rule. Lead and Copper sampling was performed during the summer of 2021, readings show that our 90th percentile for lead was 8.22 ppb, which is below the Action Level of 15 ppb, and for Copper 84.9 ppb below the Action Level 1300 ppb. Asbestos monitoring is to take place between April and June of 2022.
Within the last year, a water valve at the
intersection of Grove Street and Boston Road was replaced by the Water Division and assisted by the Wastewater Division staff member operating the Jet Vac. The Wilbraham Water Department made pump repairs at the McIntosh pump station and the Glenn Drive pump station and performed routine maintenance to the other 2 pump stations. The 2.1 million gallon storage tank on Bartlett Avenue was pressured washed by Water Division staff. The storage tank was also fully inspected by an outside contractor with
very little to no deterioration found internally and externally. Daily maintenance was performed at our Corrosion Control Facility in Ludlow with no major malfunctions.
Our crew repaired several service leaks within the distribution system and numerous new homes were built with new service connections. The Water Department has continued efforts of installing new water meters throughout the distribution system to ensure accurate
measurement of consumption by each household and business along with installing remote electronic readers. The water usage for 2021
was 396,228,000 gallons. This represents a 13.9% decrease compared to 2020.
The Wilbraham Water Department was issued one notice of non-compliance in January of 2021 for failing to take some chlorine measurements in July 2020. No other sampling issues were identified, and we collected all chlorine measurements in 2021.
If you would like to learn more about the Wilbraham Water distribution system, or for more information and for the schedule of our monthly Water Commissioners meeting, please visit our website at: www.wilbraham-ma.gov.