Water Quality in Lowell, Massachusetts
Watershed: Limit Brook – Merrimack River
What is the water quality like in Lowell, MA?
Let’s dive deeper into what’s in Lowell water.
What’s in Lowell water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chlorite – Potential effect: Changes in blood chemistry
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 19 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
9 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
See the What Can You Do? section below for all of the contaminants you can filter out and how to do it.
Where does Lowell’s water come from?
Lowell’s water comes from the Limit Brook – Merrimack River watershed.
62 of the 64 EPA assessed water sources in the Limit Brook – Merrimack River watershed are in Impaired condition. These include:
- Ayers Pond
- Black Brook
- Deep Brook
- Fire Pond Dam
- First Brook – 5 segments
- Flint Pond
- Glover Brook
- Lake Mascuppic
- Locust Pond
- Lowell Canals
- Merrill Brook Dam
- Merrill Brook – 4 segments
- Merrimack River – 4 segments
- Musquash Brook- 5 segments
- Nashua River
- Otternick Pond
- Second Brook – 2 segments
- Spit Brook – 5 segments
- 22 Unnamed brooks
- Uptons Pond
- Village at Barretts Hill Upper and Lower Pond
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. Bridge Meadow Brook and Lawrence Brook are in Good condition.
Whether a water source is in Impaired or Good condition refers to the quality of these uses:
- Drinking Water
- Aquatic Life
- Fish and Shellfish Consumption
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Lowell’s water.
Conclusion – What Can You Do?
Information about water quality can be surprising.
But there’s no reason to lose hope. There are things you can do in your household as well as things you can do at a community level.
In Your Household:
- Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out 14 of the 19 contaminants in your drinking water.
- To filter out 18 of the 19 contaminants, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your house.
- These are more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but can be more effective.
- They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
- 1,4-Dioxane – “Exposure may cause damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys.”
- Barium – health risks in water
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks in drinking water
- Chloroform – side effects
- Dibromoacetic acid
- Dichloroacetic acid
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Monochloroacetic acid
- Total trihalomethanes – byproduct of chlorination*
- Trichloroacetic acid
*Chlorination is an effective method of disinfecting/treating drinking water. You can then use a water filter to reduce the effects of chlorination byproducts to get the safest, cleanest water possible.
In Your Community:
Contact your local government officials and put pressure on them to invest in cleaner waterways and upgraded city water filtration and treatment.
Go to: http://www.lowellma.gov/ to find contact information for your local officials.