MASSACHUSETTS
494 systems serving 7,695,428 people
 
 
 
  This drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by water utilities in Massachusetts, provided to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. It is part of EWG's national database that includes 47,667 drinking water utilities and 20 million test results from 45 states and the District of Columbia. Water utilities nationwide detected more than 300 pollutants between 2004 and 2009. More than half of these chemicals are unregulated, legal in any amount. Despite this widespread contamination, the federal government invests few resources in protecting rivers, reservoirs, and groundwater from pollution in the first place. The information below summarizes drinking water quality for this state.

 
Chemicals
Water Utilities
Population Served
Detected Chemicals
94
494
7,252,397
Exceed health guidelines*
46
411
7,024,948
Exceed Legal Limits*
22
183
4,490,885
Unregulated chemicals detected
25
272
5,614,973
* Water utilities are noted as exceeding the legal limit if any test is above the maximum contaminant level (MCL). Most MCLs are based on annual averages so exceeding the MCL for one test does not necessarily indicate that the system is out of compliance.

 
 
 
  46 Contaminants Exceeding Health Based Limits

Contaminants detected in Massachusetts drinking water above health guidelines, according to an Environmental Working Group analysis of data obtained from state water authorities.

Contaminant
Population
Number of Systems
At Any Level Above Health Limits At Any Level Above Health Limits
Total haloacetic acids (HAAs) 6,493,100 6,426,900 232 229
Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) 7,057,939 6,162,429 311 207
Bromodichloromethane 5,955,625 5,955,625 192 192
Dibromochloromethane 5,430,540 5,401,640 176 172
Chloroform 6,610,314 4,978,618 240 116
Radium-228 3,297,300 3,297,300 146 146
Radium-226 3,203,532 3,203,532 138 138
Radon 2,270,848 2,269,419 70 69
Bromoform 1,973,222 1,973,222 114 114
Tetrachloroethylene 1,174,660 1,174,660 74 74

 
 
 
  Sources of Massachusetts Drinking Water Contaminants

The contaminants identified in Massachusetts drinking water come from a wide variety of sources, including agriculture, industry, water treatment plants, and polluted storm runoff from urban areas.

94 Total Contaminants Detected (2004 - 2009)
29 Agricultural Pollutants
(pesticides, fertilizer, factory farms)

Arsenic (total), Cyanide, Nitrate, Nitrite, Selenium (total), Endrin, Lindane, Methoxychlor, Toxaphene, Carbaryl, Dalapon, Endothall, Oxamyl (Vydate), Picloram, Dinoseb, Metolachlor, Atrazine, 2,4-D, Bromomethane, Aldrin, Dicamba, 1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP), Ethylene dibromide (EDB), o-Dichlorobenzene, p-Dichlorobenzene, 1,2-Dichloropropane, Monochlorobenzene (Chlorobenzene), Ethylbenzene, Perchlorate

24 Sprawl and Urban Pollutants
(road runoff, lawn pesticides, human waste)

Nitrate, Copper, Lead (total), Arsenic (total), Tetrachloroethylene, MTBE, Nitrite, Xylenes (total), Dalapon, Cadmium (total), Antimony (total), Mercury (total inorganic), Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), Cyanide, Benzene, Trichlorofluoromethane, p-Dichlorobenzene, Di(2-Ethylhexyl) adipate, 2,4-D, Naphthalene, Benzo[a]pyrene, Lindane, Bromobenzene, Carbaryl

67 Industrial Pollutants

Aluminum, Bromide, Arsenic (total), Chlorite, Barium (total), Cadmium (total), Chromium (total), Cyanide, Lead (total), Manganese, Mercury (total inorganic), Nitrate, Nitrite, Selenium (total), Antimony (total), Beryllium (total), Thallium (total), Asbestos, Lindane, Di(2-Ethylhexyl) adipate, Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Hexachlorocyclopentadiene, 1,4-Dioxane, Chloromethane, Dichlorodifluoromethane, Chloroethane, Trichlorofluoromethane, Naphthalene, MTBE, 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene, cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene, Aroclor 1242, Dibromomethane, 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene, 1,3,5-Trimethylbenzene, Bromochloromethane, Ethylene dibromide (EDB), Xylenes (total), Dichloromethane (methylene chloride), o-Chlorotoluene, p-Chlorotoluene, p-Dichlorobenzene, Vinyl chloride, 1,1-Dichloroethylene, 1,1-Dichloroethane, trans-1,2-Dichloroethylene, 1,2-Dichloroethane, 1,1,1-Trichloroethane, Carbon tetrachloride, 1,2-Dichloropropane, Trichloroethylene, 1,1,1,2-Tetrachloroethane, Tetrachloroethylene, Monochlorobenzene (Chlorobenzene), Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Bromobenzene, Isopropylbenzene, Styrene, Alpha particle activity (incl. radon & uranium), Combined Uranium (mg/L), Radium-226, Radium-228, Perchlorate, Combined Uranium (pCi/L), Gross beta particle activity (pCi/L)

17 Water Treatment and Distribution Byproducts
(pipes and fixtures, treatment chemicals and byproducts)

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), Total haloacetic acids (HAAs), Chloroform, Bromodichloromethane, Dibromochloromethane, Bromoform, Chlorite, Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Cadmium (total), Chloromethane, Bromate, Vinyl chloride, Asbestos, Dibromomethane, Bromochloromethane, Benzo[a]pyrene, Chloroethane

21 Naturally Occurring
(naturally present but increased for lands denuded by sprawl, agriculture, or industrial development)

Nitrate, Copper, Barium (total), Lead (total), Arsenic (total), Manganese, Radium-228, Radium-226, Gross beta particle activity (pCi/L), Combined Uranium (pCi/L), Chromium (total), Alpha particle activity (incl. radon & uranium), Combined Uranium (mg/L), Aluminum, Selenium (total), Nitrite, Radon, Bromide, Mercury (total inorganic), Chloromethane, Cyanide

26 Unregulated Contaminants
EPA has not established a maximum legal limit in tapwater for these contaminants

Bromide, Lead (total), Carbaryl, Metolachlor, 1,4-Dioxane, Chloromethane, Dichlorodifluoromethane, Bromomethane, Chloroethane, Trichlorofluoromethane, Naphthalene, MTBE, Aldrin, Dibromomethane, 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene, 1,3,5-Trimethylbenzene, Bromochloromethane, Dicamba, o-Chlorotoluene, p-Chlorotoluene, 1,1-Dichloroethane, 1,1,1,2-Tetrachloroethane, Bromobenzene, Isopropylbenzene, Radon, Perchlorate

 
 
 
  Testing Summary for Massachusetts

The federal government has set standards for some of the pollutants found in tap water supplies.

Contaminants reported as tested by water suppliers in Massachusetts 140
  Contaminants tested due to federal law: 88
  Contaminants tested in addition to those required by federal law: 52
 
 
 
  Violation Summary for Massachusetts

Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes the following violations of federal standards in Massachusetts since 2004.

Violation Type Number of Violations
Failure to monitor regularly 3,154
Maximum contaminant level, Monthly (Coliform bacteria) 286
Over maximum contaminant level, Average 133
Failure to monitor, Routine Minor (Coliform bacteria) 99
Follow-up and Routine Tap Sampling 93
Monitoring and Reporting Disinfection Byproduct Rule 82
Failure to monitor, Repeat Minor (Coliform bacteria) 70
Failure to monitor, Routine Major (Coliform bacteria) 62
Failure to monitor or report, Routine/Repeat (Indicators of microbial or virus contamination) 31
Maximum contaminant level, Acute (Coliform bacteria) 28
Failure to report information to the public or state agency in the Consumer Confidence Report 24
Failure to monitor or report, Routine/Repeat (Indicators of microbial or virus contamination) 24
Failure to monitor, Repeat Major (Coliform bacteria) 19
Failure to notify state agency 17
Public Notification Violation for National Primary Drinking Water Regulations 14
Treatment Technique (Surface Water Treatment Rule) 11
Failure to notify public of violation 11
Inadequate reporting of information to the public 9
Lead Service Line Replacement 7
Initial Water Quality Parameter Monitoring and Reporting 6
Water Quality Program Entry Point Non-Compliance 2
Optimal Corrosion Control Treatment Installation/Demonstration 2
Treatment Technique Precursor Removal 2
Optimal Corrosion Control Treatment Study Recommendation 2
Excess Turbidity at 1 NTU 1
Excess Turbidity at 0.3 NTU 1
Other Non-National Primary Drinking Water Regulations Potential Health Risks 1



Sources : EWG (Environmental Working Group)