Published in the March 31, 2016 edition.
WAKEFIELD — In light of the drinking water disaster in Flint, Mich., the Wakefield Department of Public Works has issued the following about water quality here in town.
“Wakefield water is lead free when it leaves the reservoirs. Further, MWRA and Wakefield water distribution mains do not add lead to the water. However, lead can leach into the water through the service line that goes from the street to your house or from household plumbing and fixtures such as your faucet. Since the 1990s, we have had a program in place to address lead in the water, which included:
• Review of all service cards to locate lead service lines
• Replacing lead service lines when approved by the homeowner
• Many homes that have been renovated have had their lead service lines replaced
• Treating the water to make it less corrosive, thereby reducing the leaching of lead into drinking water.
• Since 1992, the Wakefield DPW and MWRA have instituted water testing of the Town’s water system in accordance with EPA and MassDEP guidelines. The current program requires 30 residential samples be taken as well as two schools.
• Following all EPA and MassDEP Guidelines related to lead in drinking water.
The Town of Wakefield and the MWRA analyze water samples regularly to ensure they meet all standards. In 2015, they tested for 100 substances and detected 10 regulated contaminants and found all of these below all Federal and State standards.
Specifically for lead, the EPA Lead and Copper Rule requires that 9 out of 10 – or 90 percent – of the sampled homes must have lead levels below the Action Level of 15 parts per billion (ppb). In Wakefield, the last round of testing was completed in September 2015 and the 90th percentile level was 2 ppb, well below the EPA Action Level. No test results were greater than 15 ppb.
The goal, however, has always been and continues to be zero ppb. Here is what Wakefield is doing to reach the goal:
• Reviewing the work done in the 1990s and all service cards to identify any remaining lead services in the system. If they identify any lead services, they will contact the homeowner and work with them to address replacement of the service line.
• Encourage homeowners to inspect the interior plumbing of their homes for any lead connections and if found it is recommended that they have a licensed plumber replace the connections.
• The Wakefield DPW and the MWRA continue to optimize water treatment process to make the water less corrosive.
• Continue to test the system in accordance with EPA and MassDEP guidelines. The program requires them to perform 30 tests every three years, plus test two schools. As a best practice, the Town tests all schools when sampling.
• Continue to stay up-to-date on the latest EPA and MassDEP Guidelines related to lead and modify their program to incorporate the best available information.
Should you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact the DPW at 781-246-6301, ext. 4120 or 781-246-6318. You can also e-mail [email protected]. Additional information will also be available on the Wakefield DPW website https://www.wakefield.ma.us/public-works or MWRA website at https://www.mwra.state.ma.us.