The following discusses potential water quality issues or concerns as well as water filtration options for residents of Lexington, MA, whose homes are supplied by Lexington’s Department of Public Works, Water & Sewer. If you are on a private well, getting a water test is the starting point in determining if a water filtration system or water softener is recommended for improved water quality.
LEXINGTON PUBLIC WATER SUPPLY
The water supply originates from 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, there are issues that may occur causing various types of staining in the home’s sinks, bathtubs, toilets, showers and other plumbing fixtures. Additionally, 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. There is a “Frequently Asked Questions” publication provided by MWRA that reviews what you may encounter. See the link at MWRA Frequently Asked Qs.
CONCERNS REGARDING POTENTIAL LEAD EXPOSURE
Each year, Lexington works with the MWRA to test water in homes that are likely to have high lead levels — usually homes with lead service lines or lead solder. More than one home in Lexington tested above the Action Level for lead. Therefore, the Water and Sewer Division has begun a program to replace home lead service connections. To find out if you might have a lead service line and how it can be replaced, you may contact the Water & Sewer Division at (781) 861-2757 or (781) 862-0500.
WATER FILTRATION SYSTEMS & WATER SOFTENERS
Water filtration systems can be installed for the removal of any of the potential causes of symptoms you may be experiencing. Lead is typically removed from drinking water with either a reverse osmosis water filtration system or a carbon filter meeting lead removal requirements. Water softeners are typically installed to remove dissolved iron or manganese in the water through a technology called Ion Exchange. A water softener will also remove dissolved lead from the water as well, however they are usually installed ahead of the piping where the potential for lead leaching is most likely to occur and is not recommended for this purpose. To remove particulate iron or manganese, a properly sized sediment filter is required.
Chloramine, a disinfectant compound consisting of chlorine and ammonia, is the preferred disinfecting solution used by MWRA to control microorganisms. It is used due to the phenomenon of chlorine’s reaction with straight chlorine causing potentially harmful byproducts called Trihalothethanes that have been linked to cancer and other health problems related to pregnancy. Chloramines can be removed with a carbon filtration system and will also remove bad taste and odors associated with it.
In addition to the above systems described, there are many other types of systems to remove bad tastes & odors, sediment and many other objectionable minerals and contaminants in the water. There are “point of entry” systems that will provide filtration for all of the water entering your home or facility. Also, there are “point of use” water filtration systems that will provide filtered water at a sink or other single point of use, typically by feeding the filtered water to a designated, separate faucet. Starting with a water test will help steer to the right approach for you. For more on bad odors & taste in your water, see the link at https://h2ocare.com/bad-odor-taste/.
Any water filtration system or water softener recommendation 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.
H2O Care is an established, Massachusetts based water filtration and testing firm, formed in 1989 with offices in Middleton and Stow, MA. Articles published by the Company can be seen in Water Technology Magazines at http://h2ocare.com/pub. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-539-1100.