What is the Water Quality in Waltham, Massachusetts?
Compared to other US cities, Waltham water quality ranks in the middle range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 21 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Chloroform is at extremely high levels: 24x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 106x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 198x health guidelines.
- These are both byproducts of the chlorine treatment process most water supplies go through.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Waltham water.
What’s in Waltham water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5 and HAA9) – Potential effect: Cancer
- Radium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 21 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
9 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Waltham have Lead contamination?
Yes, Waltham has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected in 2018 showed concentrations up to 2.4 parts per billion (ppb).
The legal limit for lead is 15 parts per billion. Being well-below this level is a good thing.
- Concentrations between 3.8 ppb and 15 ppb put a formula-fed baby at risk of elevated blood lead levels. Read more about the symptoms of Lead in water.
There is no safe level of lead for humans.
- The good news is that 99.99% of the lead can be removed.
See the What Can You Do? section below to learn how to filter out contaminants.
Where does Waltham’s water come from?
Waltham’s water comes from the Beaver Brook – Charles River watershed.
19 of the 21 water sources in the Beaver Brook – Charles River watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Alder Brook
- Beaver Brook
- Bulloughs Pond
- Charles River – multiple sections
- Cheese Cake Brook
- Crystal Lake
- Hardy’s Pond
- Kendrick Street Pond
- Rock Meadow Brook
- Rosemary Brook
- Sawmill Brook
- Seaverns Brook
- South Meadow Brook
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. Hammond Pond and Weld Pond are in Good condition.
Whether a water source is in Impaired or Good condition refers to the quality of three uses:
- Aquatic Life
- Fish and Shellfish Consumption
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Waltham’s water.
What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Waltham can be surprising.
But there are things you can do in your home to clean up your water.
To Remove Lead and Other Contaminants In Your Home:
There is one solution that beats Brita, PUR, and expensive whole house systems.
- It costs less per gallon.
- Needs fewer filter changes.
- And it doesn’t make your water taste weird.
- Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out at least 82% of contaminants in your drinking water.
- Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of Lead in Waltham water.
- Brita can filter 11 contaminants and Lead depending on the filter.
- Note: We may receive a commission if you decide to purchase filters through links on this page.
- To filter out 19 of the 21 contaminants, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your house.
- These are more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but are much more effective.
- They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
- Haloacetic acids
- Hexavalent chromium
- Total trihalomethanes – byproduct of chlorination*
*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: https://www.city.waltham.ma.us/ to find contact information for your local officials.