What’s in the Water?

Water is something that we often consume without thinking. When we’re thirsty, we drink the water that we are blessed to have such easy access to. Nevertheless, water, and the components in it, have a greater effect on our health than we assume.

The Flint Water Crisis has greatly raised awareness around water quality. Twelve people in Flint died from the dangerous levels of lead in the water, which skyrocketed after the city changed its water source to a more costly option. When I had the opportunity to investigate something here at Dana that I am interested in, my mind immediately jumped to the water – I wanted to find out what I was putting into my body.

Through the Wellesley Water and Sewer Division, I was able to access water reports from 2007 to 2017. The Water Consumer Awareness report is a document which details the water levels and the filtration/gathering process and compares data with the requirements implemented by the government. Such documents are public records, and they can be found on the Town of Wellesley website.

When I read this document, I found that in 2017, 67% of our water came from local sources. The commissioners also used the document to suggest measures that one should take in order to ensure that our water is to the utmost safety. For example, watering your lawn less or chosing to use natural fertilizer instead of chemically modified ones, which can be significantly healthier.

All of the tap water in Wellesley is filtered by one of the three treatment facilities that we have here. The filter process cleans the water of natural iron and manganese materials. The water cascades through the tray aerator, which removes acidity from the water. Then, fluoride is added to the water, before the last step of the process, which is disinfecting the water with hypochlorite.

Not surprisingly, Wellesley had approved water levels, and had no violations above the government requirements. However, what was interesting is the different factors that play into who can consume the water. For example, in the 2017 Water Consumer Awareness Report, they issue a warning to any “people with hypertension to avoid consuming water with levels above 20 ppm of sodium. Therefore it should be noted that our water is in excess of this guideline.” The Wellesley water tested to have up to 124 ppm of sodium in the water, 104 ppm above what people with high blood pressure should be drinking. This is concerning for those who drink the water, and unknowingly could be threatening their health.

All of these records are available on town government pages, and I encourage everyone to do research of their own. It is always important to hold your health in the highest concern.

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