Before 1795, Boston residents obtained their water from local wells, rain barrels, and a spring on the Boston Common.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) certifies laboratories to analyze drinking (potable) and non-drinking (non-potable) water for certain contaminants.
You should verify that a laboratory's certification for lead analysis of drinking water is current when making your water sampling arrangements with a prospective laboratory. Costs range from $15.00 to $80.00. Also, you need to be aware that some laboratories may sell water treatment products and services or may be affiliated with other companies that offer such services.
Visit the MWRA to obtain a list of laboratories certified by DEP to analyze drinking water for lead.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) in Jamaica Plain will waive the cost of performing lead analysis of drinking water for any household in which it has been determined that a child's blood level is 20 micrograms per deciliter or greater. The DPH laboratory may be contacted as follows:
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health
State Laboratory Institute
305 South Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
617-983-6653 or 617-983-6654
Contact testing center to obtain water sample bottles and instructions.
Water samples should be taken from a cold-water faucet in the kitchen (or bathroom) where you mainly use the water for drinking or preparing foods.
Remove the aerator or strainer from faucet if one is installed the night before testing and run water for about 30 to 60 seconds. The aerators or strainers should be left off until after the water samples are collected.
Avoid using any faucets or flushing toilets for about 6 to 12 hours before collecting samples to ensure that the water has been dormant in the plumbing, unused, for at least 6 hours. It is best to collect a water sample early in the morning before preparing for work or school, or if no one is home during the day, collect the sample in the evening.
Use caution in handling the sample containers to avoid contaminating any portion of the container that may come in contact with the water. To avoid the contamination of container caps, place opening of caps facing upward when placed on a surface.
Tightly cover all sample containers and fill out the labels on the containers completely and accurately.
On the day you collect the samples, before running any water, place the first uncapped sample container below the faucet and gently turn on the cold water. Fill the container to the top and do not allow the bottle to overflow. Be sure to mark the container as the First Draw sample.
The second sample collected should represent water as it flows through the plumbing system of your home. After the First Draw sample has been collected, allow the water to run for an additional 2 minutes and then fill the second container. Mark the bottle as the Second Draw sample.
The third sample should represent the water as it is delivered to your home. After the second draw sample has been collected, allow the water to run for an additional 3 minutes, then fill the third container. Mark the container as the Third Draw sample.
Submit all three samples to the testing center you have chosen to conduct water analysis.