Methuen, MA Water Quality Report

Where Your Drinking Water Comes From

The first barrier of protection for any water supply system is to have clean sources of water. The only water supply for Methuen’s Water Treatment Plant is the surface water from the Merrimack River, which starts in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The Merrimack River covers over 4,672 square miles between the States of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Because of the large recharge area the Merrimack River has a very large capacity to supply water even during extended droughts.

Over the last 30 years the river has undergone a tremendous change as far as water quality is concerned. Upstream wastewater plants installed in the late 1980’s and elimination of hidden outfalls has contributed to the “B” classification of the river water. Our intake station is directly alongside the river. The treatment plant pumps on average 4.5million gallons per day ( MGD), with our high average in the summer months of 6 MGD and approximately 1.7 billion gallons of drinking water per year. This dramatic increased stress on our water supply is mostly caused by non-essential water use such as lawn irrigation. Methuen retains 10.6 million gallons of water storage in the distribution system. This storage helps maintain consistent water pressure throughout the 200miles of underground pipes that deliver drinking water to homes and businesses.

Water Treatment Process

Protection of our watershed is important, but it is far from the only measure we take to ensure the highest quality drinking water possible. Treatment of the water reduces levels of contaminants to a safe range and can effectively eliminate some substances, but will not remove all traces of all possible contaminants. 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. In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the Mass DEP and the US EPA prescribe regulations which limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems.

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