Water Quality reports lunenburg

Lunenburg Water District

2020 Annual Drinking Water Quality Report

MASS DEP PWSID - 2162000



The Quality of Your Drinking Water

The Lunenburg Water District is committed to providing our customers with high quality drinking water that meets or surpasses state and federal standards.  This report is being sent to inform our customers of the results of water sampling completed in 2020, as well as information regarding the operation of the District.  We would like the residents of Lunenburg to feel confident that their drinking water complies with all required contaminant level monitoring.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) have sections that are worded by them and must be included in this report.  Much of the information must pass from year to year, so you may notice a lot of repetition.  Do not hesitate to call if you have any questions, or concerns.


Lunenburg’s Water System PWS ID # 2162000

The water supply for the Lunenburg Water District includes 4 active wells and one inactive well on Lancaster Ave.  MassDEP I.D. numbers for these wells are 01G, 02G, 04G and 07G, the inactive well is 03G.  We also have an additional well located near Hickory Hills Lake (06G), this well has been classified as inactive as well.  Our most recently installed well (2010) is located on Leominster Shirley Road called the Keating Well (08G).  One of the wells has full generator backup, and 2 have mechanical gear operators that allow water to be pumped without electricity.  All wells are treated with a chemical called sodium hydroxide.  This chemical is added to raise the pH of the water from its raw condition of 5.8 to a pH level of near 7.6.  The addition of this chemical prevents corrosion of copper pipes and the leaching of lead from solder used in household plumbing. The Water District was authorized by MassDEP to sample for copper and lead once every 3 years rather than every year, due to the excellent results in past years samples. None of the water lines that feed homes are lead service lines.  The water lines are either copper or plastic tubing, or in rare cases iron pipe. At certain times of the year the water is treated with sodium hypochlorite (chlorine).  This is added to destroy any bacteriological organisms.  The highest dosage of chlorine s added during April and October, when hydrant flushing is taking place.  When chlorine is injected, our goal is to place the most minimal dose possible, so that residents are not aware of its presence.  We presently have 2 storage tanks, a 2.8 million gallon tank on Chase Road., and a 500,000 gallon tank on Sunnyhill Road.  These provide storage during peak use and for fire protection.  We are also responsible for maintaining approximately 50 miles of water main ranging in sizes from 4” to 16”.  The Lunenburg Water District has an emergency interconnection with the city of Leominster.  This interconnection allows an alternate source of water in case of an emergency for both water systems.  


Board of Water Commissioners

A 3 member Board oversees the operation of the Water District.  Each member is elected to a 3-year term and must reside in the Water District.  Board meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 4:00pm mostly.  They are held at the new Water District Office, located at 496 Mass Ave.  The public is always welcome, and encouraged to attend.


Questions Regarding the Water System

If you have any questions regarding the water system, water quality reports, or any matter, contact the Water District Office at (978) 582-4532.  Everyone is willing and able to answer any questions or concerns about the water quality, billing, or operation of the District.


Web Page is Located at http://www.lunenburgwater.com

On this web page you can find general information about the Water District.  You can click the “Online Pay” to make payments online.  We also will put emergency notifications on to keep residents informed about water outages. You can also follow us on Facebook for up to date information.


Water Conservation / Drought

The Water District must adhere to a water withdrawal permit that is issued by the MassDEP.  This permit has a requirement that we must implement water restrictions when the stream flow in Pepperell hits a certain flow rate.  Our restrictions are pretty minimal for the initial trigger, which is the no use of water for non-essential purposes from the hours of 9 am to 5 pm each day.  Due to the weather and residents adhering to the stricter policies that took place last year, we do not foresee having to implement any new water restriction for this coming year.  New regulations are likely to implemented in 2021 which will be much stricter than any of the previous restrictions.  When these new regulations are implemented, the Water District will be required to enforce the restrictions that are in place.   


Substances That Could Be in Water

Sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally-occurring minerals, and in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity.


Contaminants that may be present in source water include:


  • Microbial contaminants - such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations, and wildlife.
  • Inorganic contaminants - such as salts and metals, which can be naturally-occurring or result from urban storm water runoff, industrial, or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining, and farming.
  • Pesticides and herbicides - which may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban storm water runoff, and residential uses.
  • Organic chemical contaminants - including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, and septic systems.
  • Radioactive contaminants - which can be naturally occurring or be the result of oil and gas production and mining activities. 


In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prescribe regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water that must provide the same protection for public health. All drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791). 


Do I need to take special precautions?

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immune-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and some infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines on lowering the risk of infection by cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).


Source Water Assessment and Protection Report

A Source Water Assessment and Protection Report(SWAP) is available at the office.   This report is an assessment of the delineated area around our listed sources through which contaminants, if present, could migrate and reach our source water.  It also includes an inventory of potential sources of contamination within the delineated area and a determination of the water supply’s susceptibility to contamination by the identified potential sources.  All our sources have the required protective areas around each source.  Each large capacity well has a 400 foot protective radius and the well field on Lancaster Ave. has a 250 foot radius around each small capacity well.  This radius is called the Zone I.  All sources are also protected by a Zone II.  This is the water supply area that is the recharge for the Zone I and the actual well.  Zone II is protected by the town’s zoning bylaws and has a restricted land use.  According to the Source Water Assessment Plan, our water system had a susceptibility rating of High due to an automotive facility that is located at the farthest section of our re-charge area for the wells on Lancaster Ave.  Please feel free to contact our office if you would like to discuss any of the determinations that are listed in the SWAP.  The SWAP can be viewed online at http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dep/water/drinking/swap/cero/2162000.pdf


Do I Need To Be Concerned About Certain Contaminants Detected In My Water?

If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. The Lunenburg Water District is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in home plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at  http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead


Cross Connections

A cross connection is the back siphoning of a non-potable source of liquid into your drinking water pipes.  Sources of potential cross connections are pools, boilers, irrigation systems and drains.  The potential for back siphonage occurs mostly when flushing of hydrants, fires, or broken water mains.  During these periods, the water pressure is decreased substantially and in worst case scenarios there is a negative pressure.  In this case, any Water District piping that is in contact with another source of non-potable liquid from your home will be drawn backwards into your homes piping and eventually back into the water main.  When the water pressure in the water main returns, it will push the non-potable liquid throughout the water system.  Depending on the liquid, it could potentially cause a serious health hazard to every resident of the water system.  To limit the possibility of cross connections, the Water District surveys all buildings that may potentially have illegal connections that connect non-potable sources to the Water District.  If a source of cross connection is found, the owner of the property must install a certified backflow preventer that will stop back siphonage. Homeowners can limit this potential by installing vacuum breakers on outside faucets and irrigation systems.  If you have any questions or need assistance in determining if a cross connection is present in your home, please contact the Water District for an inspection.  There is no charge for this inspection.  Our goal is to eliminate all possible sources of contamination that could occur.



  • Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) – The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.


  • Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) –The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.


  • Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL) -- The highest level of a disinfectant (chlorine, chloramines, chlorine dioxide) allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.


  • Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal (MRDLG) -- The level of a drinking water disinfectant (chlorine, chloramines, chlorine dioxide) below which there is no known of expected risk to health. MRDLG's do not reflect the benefits of the use of disinfectants to control microbial contaminants.


  • Treatment Technique (TT) – A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.


  • Action Level (AL) – The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements that a water system must follow.


  • 90th Percentile – Out of every 10 homes sampled, 9 were at or below this level.


  • Variances and Exemptions – State or EPA permission not to meet an MCL or a treatment technique under certain conditions.


  • ppm = parts per million, or milligrams per liter (mg/l)


  • ppb = parts per billion, or micrograms per liter (ug/l)


  • ppt = parts per trillion, or nanograms per liter


  • pCi/l = picocuries per liter (a measure of radioactivity)


  • NTU = Nephelometric Turbidity Units


  • ND = Not Detected


  • N/A = Not Applicable


  • mrem/year = millimrems per year (a measure of radiation absorbed by the body)


  • Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (SMCL) – These standards are developed to protect the aesthetic qualities of drinking water and are not health based.


  • Massachusetts Office of Research and Standards Guideline (ORSG) – This is the concentration of a chemical in drinking water, at or below which, adverse health effects are unlikely to occur after chronic (lifetime) exposure. If exceeded, it serves as an indicator of the potential need for further action.

The table below lists all of the drinking water contaminants that were detected during 2020


Terms and Abbreviations used below:

  • Highest Level Detected: The highest amount of a contaminant found out of all the samples taken.
  • Range of Detection: The lowest and highest amount of contaminant detected in all the samples.
  • Violation: Did the amount of the contaminant exceed EPA and State regulations. (MCL)
  • N/A: Not Applicapable  Some items do not have concentration requirements.

* US EPA has established a lifetime health advisory (HA) value of 300 ppb for manganese to protect against concerns of potential neurological effects, and a one-day and 10-day HA of 1000 ppb for acute exposure. **(See full detailed explanation on bottom of page)


MassDEP has reduced the monitoring requirements for some groups because the source is not at risk of contamination. The last samples collected for these contaminants was found to meet all applicable US EPA and MassDEP standards.

If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from material and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. Lunenburg Water District is responsible for providing high-quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead


Our system’s reported PFAS results are less than 20 ppt US EPA HA and MassDEP’s ORSG For consumer factsheet on PFAS see https://www.mass.gov/doc/massdep-fact-sheet-pfas-in-drinking-water-questions-and-answers-for-consumers/download


**Manganese is a naturally occurring mineral found in rocks, soil, groundwater, and surface water. Manganese is necessary for proper nutrition and is part of a healthy diet, but can have undesirable effects on certain sensitive populations at elevated concentrations. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and  MassDEP have set an aesthetics-based Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (SMCL) for manganese of 50ug/L (microgram per liter), or 50 parts per billion. In addition, MassDEP's Office of Research and Standards (ORS) has set a drinking water guideline for manganese (ORSG), which closely follows the EPA public health advisory for manganese. Drinking water naturally has manganese and, when concentrations are greater than 50 ppb, the water may be discolored and taste bad. Over a lifetime, the EPA recommends that people drink water with manganese levels less than 300 ppb, and over the short term, EPA recommends that people limit their consumption of water with levels over 1000 ppb, primarily due to concerns about possible neurological effects. Children younger than one year old should not be given water with manganese concentrations over 300 ppb, nor should formula for infants be made with water for more than a total of ten days throughout the year. The ORSG differs from the EPA's health advisory because it expands the age group to which a lower manganese concentration applies from children less than six months of age to children up to one year of age to address concerns about children's susceptibility to manganese toxicity. See EPA Drinking Water Health Advisory for manganese at https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-09/documents/support_ccl_magnese_dwreport_0.pdf and MassDEP Office of Research and Standards (ORSG) for manganese at http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/water/drinking/lead-and-other-contaminants-in-drinking-water.html#11

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