Itron water logo

Arlington residents, with millions of others in greater Boston, have access to clean water from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). The clean water is pumped from the Quabbin Reservoir in the central part of the state through a network of pipes and smaller reservoirs. The water is treated and tested along the way to ensure it's free from lead and other toxic substances.

"We’ve been blessed with huge reservoirs that are protected," MWRA Executive Director Frederick Laskey, a Medford resident, told InsideMedford.

Laskey said the MWRA buffers the water to control its acidity, which makes it less corrosive and less likely to cause lead to leach into it from pipes.

A recent Boston Globe article pointed out the large number of lead service lines in several MWRA communities, including Medford, Malden and Somerville. Communities with older homes often have lead service lines, the pipes that carry water into homes.

Laskey told InsideMedford there is no lead in the water mains operated by the MWRA and the City of Medford. Homeowners are responsible for the replacement cost of the lead service line from the curb into their homes.

Despite the concern with lead service lines bringing water into homes, Laskey said Medford has passed lead tests the last three years without a problem. He said homes that are known to have lead pipes are intentionally tested and that 98 percent of all water tested is below the allowable threshold.

"The numbers from Medford are good; water quality tests are good," Laskey told InsideMedford. "Overall, as a system we do very well."

Having a lead service line into a home doesn’t automatically mean the water isn’t safe. Laskey recommends running water after it has sat for a few hours in pipes until it’s cold, such as when waking up in the morning or returning home from work. He also said hot tap water should never be consumed.

The MWRA recently published a document about lead and the steps it takes to keep our water clean.

The MWRA also has a webpage with facts about lead, including how to limit exposure and how to get water tested. Read it here >>

This report, originally published at InsideMedford, a YourArlington partner, was published Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016.