The general answer is yes, you can drink Boston tap water and surrounding areas. In 2014 it even won the AWWA water taste test beating NYC. However, there are health risks such as lead, bi-products from chlorine and microplastics. Therefore a point of use water filter such as TAPP can be a good idea.
Where does Boston tap water come from?
The Quabbin and Wachusetts reservoirs, West of the City, provide drinking water to Boston. Thanks to conservation in the 1990s these reservoirs still provide excellent water quality requiring minimal treatment. Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) provides drinking water to 61 communities including Boston and surrounding areas.
What is in Boston tap water and who regulates it?
The water supplied by the local water authority is safe to drink. Potential health risks are primarily due to old pipes or recently discovered pollutants such as microplastics.
MWRA water is lead-free when it leaves the reservoirs. MWRA and local water mains do not add lead to the water. However, lead can get into water through a lead service line (the pipe that connects your home to the main in the street) or household plumbing. The tap water may sometimes turn yellowish in the winter due to low levels of dissolved iron picked up from old iron pipes in both the water supply system and your community’s water system. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), maintains that increased levels of iron that produce yellow water are not public health threats.
The tap water in Boston just like most other municipal 94% of other water systems in the United States is likely to contain microplastics. We don’t know yet whether these are negative for the health.
There are a couple of reason why it might be a good idea to use a point of use water filter
- Aesthetic (taste, odor, and color) – in the summer especially the water might taste of chlorine
- Lead contamination in the local pipes
- Microplastics in tap water
- Chlorine sensitivity and bi-products – Customers with a chloramine sensitivity may prefer to filter their drinking water with a filter that removes chloramine.
TAPP provides an affordable and high-quality point of use water filters that remove the contaminants highlighted above and 80+ more that have been found in tap water.
Drinking water in public places and restaurants
Unfortunately, there is no law requiring restaurants to serve their customers tap water for free, most do it as a courtesy. In some very rare cases, servers have been reported to refuse serving tap water, but this shouldn’t worry you. Almost any restaurant you go to will ask as a default if you want sparkling water, bottled water or tap. As for bars, you can also get free water, just remember you’ll still need to tip even if you don’t order any other food/drinks.
Moreover, when you are on the go, take a reusable bottle with you, and fill it up. You can use the MyTAPP app (iOS and Android) to find refill stations around you.
There is no scientific evidence that bottled water is healthier. In fact bottled water is less regulated and plastic is known to leech causing microplastics in most bottled water.
In addition to this, bottled water is expensive and bad for the environment. So do yourself and the planet a favor. Buy a refillable bottle and bring your own water or fill it up in a water fountain.
Using a filter like TAPP, you will never need to use any plastic linked with your water consumption. When it’s time to change the filter, dispose of its biodegradable refill cartridge with organic waste.
- The tap water in Boston and surrounding areas is drinkable and generally high quality
- There are risks of local tap water contamination such lead and chlorine by-products as well as a growing problem with microplastics in the water
- An affordable high-quality point of use water filter can be a good idea as it improves aesthetics (taste and odor) and protects from potential contamination
- Avoid bottled water if you can as it’s neither healthier or safer
Do you drink tap water in Boston? We want your feedback and opinion. Agree or disagree? Tell us!
- National Geographic: Boston wins annual tap water taste contest https://blog.nationalgeographic.org/2014/06/18/boston-wins-annual-tap-water-taste-contest/
- Orb Media: Microplastics in tap water all over the US https://orbmedia.org/stories/Invisibles_plastics
- MWRA: Water quality concerns in Boston area http://www.mwra.com/04water/html/qual4concerns.htm
- National Geographic – Why tap water is better than bottled water https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/03/100310/why-tap-water-is-better/