For National Drinking Water Week, State Honors West Newbury, North Andover and Andover for Progress

Lead water pipe. (Courtesy of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.)

West Newbury, North Andover and Andover were among 45 public water systems statewide to be honored by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection in honor of National Drinking Water Week.

West Newbury was named in the category of Small Community Systems; North Andover, Medium and Large Community Systems; and Andover, Northeast Regional Recognition. According to the state, “awardees demonstrated excellent water service to the public, no violations or compliance issues and efforts that support overall public water supply service.” The winners were honored at a ceremony Thursday in Devens.

“Water is our most valuable natural resource, and it takes the work of experienced professions to protect it from pollution, promote conservation and build infrastructure to handle our future needs,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “National Drinking Water Week is the perfect time to honor these dedicated water suppliers and professionals who work every day to supply clean, safe and healthy drinking water to millions of residents across Massachusetts.”

Officials note that while the Andover Water Department exceeded the Lead Action Level in the fall of 2021, it recognized the challenges posed by the removal of 153 lead service lines and identification of the type of 1,359 unidentified service lines and voluntarily entered into an administrative consent order with MassDEP in early 2022. The agreement requires Andover to remove minimum of 25 lead service lines and investigate 400 service lines of unknown material annually. This past February, Andover reported successfully identifying all unknown service lines “at an accelerated pace in far less time” than anticipated.

“Moreover, within less than two years, they not only identified all 1,359 previously unknown lines, but have also removed 84 (lead service lines). With their complete inventory now known, Andover can concentrate efforts on eliminating the 131 remaining (lead service lines), and soon declare Andover a lead-free community,” officials said.

“Clean and sufficient drinking water doesn’t happen by accident. It’s because of the hard work of people like those being recognized today,” said MassDEP Commissioner Bonnie Heiple.

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