Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
2003 Report on your Drinking Water - a message from your local water department

David B. Cohen, Mayor

Public Water Supply #: 3207000
Department of Public Works

What Newton is doing to improve water quality:
In addition to the action taken by the MWRA outlined in this report, the Newton Department of Public Works has taken steps to improve the quality of drinking water provided to Newton residents. The City’s distribution system was evaluated in the early 1990’s, resulting in an ongoing program of pipeline replacement, cleaning and lining of water mains, elimination of dead ends, and water main flushing. Typical of older distribution systems such as the City of Newton’s, water pipes develop a layer of sediment and encrusted material known as tuberculation. This can affect taste, odor and color. During rehabilitation, interior walls of pipes are restored, eliminating the tuberculation upon which bacteria can grow.

Go back to MWRA main report

Water Main Rehabilitation
Water main replacement is performed where the main is undersized or has corroded to such an extent that it is not structurally sound. The City of Newton is spending approximately 2.5 million dollars per year for at least the next five years to rehabilitate the water infrastructure, in conjunction with MWRA. To keep construction costs at a minimum, water main rehabilitation is targeted on roads scheduled for resurfacing. There are about 200 miles of water mains that require rehabilitation to improve water quality and quantity. Major water lines have been rehabilitated in the past few years in several neighborhoods. This year’s construction includes areas of West Newton, Nonantum, Newton Center, Upper Falls, and Oak Hill.

Flushing Program
The Department of Public Works has implemented an ongoing comprehensive flushing program designed to remove tuberculation and sediments from water mains. The program involves closing water gates and forcing water flow in two directions of high velocities, which scours the mains.

Water Tank Upgrades
The three above–ground water storage tanks will be inspected and painted over the next three years to remove rust and prolong tank life.

Leak Detection
The City undergoes an annual water leak detection survey, where correlation technology is used to find leaks in the water distribution system. The leaks are cataloged for ongoing repairs by the Utilities Division.

Backflow Prevention
The City of Newton has a cross connection control and prevention program to protect the water distribution system from contamination. The Certified Backflow Inspectors/Testers survey sites, test the devices, and review and approve new devices prior to installation. The City operates under the state DEP regulation 310 CMR 22.22.

Lead and Copper
Many homes in Newton are known to have lead pipes and plumbing fixtures. Lead in drinking water is variable in the sample test results for some homes, but generally meets EPA Action Levels. Therefore the City recommends that flushing the tap water before drinking, and not using water from the hot water tap for cooking and drinking, is the best way to reduce the potential for lead exposure. Laboratory services are available from an independent firm who will test for lead and copper. Interested residents should contact the water office in room 105 at City Hall for sampling instructions.

The Department of Public Works is committed to providing the best possible water quality to its customers. For more information contact the Public Works Utilities Division at 617-796-1040.

Robert R. Rooney
Commissioner of Public Works

Louis M. Taverna, P.E.
Director of Utilities