The following discusses potential water quality issues or concerns as well as water filtration options for residents of Boston, Massachusetts.
The Boston water supply and many surrounding cities and towns are supplied by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). The latest available Annual Water Quality Report can be viewed at the following link MWRA Annual Report. While the water quality is generally pretty good from MWRA, the long distance to the water’s eventual points of use and other issues may cause taste & odor issues as well as various types of staining in sinks, toilets, showers and other plumbing fixtures. You may experience taste and odor issues that are commonly associated with chloramine (a chlorine, ammonia compound), which is used to disinfect the water and control bacterial growth. For more detail on common taste & odor issues in water, see the link at http://h2ocare.com/bad-odor-taste-water/. There is a “Frequently Asked Questions” publication provided by MWRA that reviews what you may encounter. See the link at FAQs MWRA Water. See the Water Filtration Systems section below for more information on water quality improvement.
SYMPTOMS OF WATER QUALITY ISSUES / TEST FIRST
While symptoms of water quality issues such as bad odors & taste, staining of laundry, bathroom fixtures, etc. are indicators of problems, the preferred starting point is to get a water test to identify the minerals or contaminants in the water and at what quantity they exist. This will lead to an effective system recommendation and route to providing excellent water quality for drinking, washing, etc.
LEAD IN DRINKING WATER
Lead found in tap water usually comes from the corrosion of older fixtures, from the solder that connects pipes or from old lead pipe service lines running from the water main in your street to your home. Water is known as the ultimate solvent in that it picks up a little of everything it touches as it flows through the ground, pipes, etc. Also, when water sits in leaded pipes for several hours, lead can leach into the water supply. Measures taken during the last two decades have greatly reduced exposures to lead in tap water. These measures include actions taken under the requirements of the 1986 and 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (http://www.epa.gov/sdwa) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Lead and Copper Rule (http://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/lead-and-copper-rule).
EFFECTIVE REMOVAL OF LEAD IN WATER
Reverse osmosis water filtration systems are very effective at lead removal from drinking water (as well as a host of other potential contaminants) as a Point of Use device, typically feeding a separate faucet at the sink. There are other types of filters that are designed with small enough pore sizes to remove lead from drinking water as well. Technologies such as distillation are not practical and leave a taste many find objectionable. For recommendations and alternatives, speak to a water treatment professional.
WATER FILTRATION SYSTEMS
Various types of water filtration systems are available for the removal of any of the potential causes of symptoms you may be experiencing. Water softeners are typically installed to remove dissolved iron or manganese from the water through a technology called Ion Exchange, however hard water is not really an issue in Boston. To remove particulate iron or manganese, a properly sized sediment filter is required. Bad tastes & odors, which may be the result of the chloramine added into the MWRA water supply for disinfecting purposes, can be removed with a carbon filtration system. Additionally, to create very pure drinking water, a reverse osmosis system can be installed, which utilizes the same technology used to produce both Aquafina, Dasani and some other bottled waters. There are various sized reverse osmosis systems to match the volume demands required.
Any water filtration system or water softener recommendation in your Boston home or business should start with a water test before an informed decision can be made. To determine what type of water testing to have performed and how to take a proper sample, call a water treatment professional or a state certified laboratory.
In summary, controlling your water quality is attainable through proper water testing and equipment specification with today’s available water filtration technologies at a reasonable price. Proper on-going maintenance is also critical to maintain a consistent level of great water quality.