Water Quality in Worcester, Massachusetts
Watershed: Tatnuck Brook – Blackstone River
What is the water quality like in Worcester, MA?
Let’s dive deeper into what’s in Worcester water.
What’s in Worcester water?
Here are the top 6 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
- Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Radium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are six of the 22 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
10 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 Worcester’s water come from?
Worcester’s water comes from the Tatnuck Brook – Blackstone River watershed.
13 of the 14 EPA assessed water sources in the Tatnuck Brook – Blackstone River watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Beaver Brook
- Bell Pond
- Blackstone River
- Coes Reservoir
- Green HJill Pond
- Holden Reservoir 1 and 2
- Indian Lake
- Kendall Reservoir
- Middle River
- Tatnuck Brook – 2 segments
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. One Unnamed Tributary in the watershed is 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 Worcester’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 18 of the 22 contaminants in your drinking water.
- To filter out 21 of the 22 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:
- Barium – health risks in water
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks in drinking water
- Chloroform – side effects
- Chromium (total)
- Dibromoacetic acid
- Dichloroacetic acid
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- Monobromoacetic acid
- Monochloroacetic acid
- Monochlorobenzene – common industrial solvent.
- o-Dichlorobenzene – involved in the production of insecticides. Can cause eye and respiratory tract irritation.
- 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.worcesterma.gov/ to find contact information for your local officials.