Test My Water
The Cambridge Water Department offers free tap water testing for lead and copper to Cambridge residents.
Everyone consuming tap water in Cambridge gets their water from the same source. Cambridge water has its own unique fingerprint that is clearly identifiable from all other water. The tap water that is distributed is chemically very uniform throughout the city and in buildings and residences. What buildings and residences do change chemically is the amount of lead and copper present in the internal plumbing. Most tap water plumbing is made out of copper pipes soldered (joined) together with zinc solder. Prior to 1986, copper plumbing pipes could have been soldered together with a mixture of lead and zinc. Water is a solvent and given enough time the tap water can leach out (absorb) copper and possibly lead. We do many tests annually for Cambridge Residents and we find only very tiny amounts of copper and lead well below the EPA guidelines and is considered safe to drink. To minimize the risk of exposure to copper and lead, always let your water run for a moment to flush out any standing water in your plumbing and bring in fresh water from our supply mains.
We are happy to test residents' water for free, provided the resident collects the samples properly. We have tap water sampling kits available in the lobby of the water treatment facility at 250 Fresh Pond Parkway. There is a self-serve kiosk to the left of the lobby reception desk where residents can pick up and drop off the test kits.
A test kit contains two bottles, a form to fill out, and specific instructions on how to collect the samples. All the resident needs to do is come by pick up the kit, read the instructions, fill out the form, fill the sample bottles according to the instructions, and return everything back to the lobby. We will get your results in approximately two weeks.
The test is designed to demonstrate a worst case/best case scenario. Worst case is where the tap water is left standing in the plumbing for a period of time and is likely to see an extremely low level of lead if lead is present in the plumbing. Best case is after the tap water in the plumbing has been flushed and is likely to contain extremely low levels or detect no lead at all.
If you have any questions, please call the Water Quality Laboratory at 617-349-4780, if no answer, please leave a message or email us.