Another source of water that a person may use is a public water provider. A public water system differs from a private one in that the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection regulates public water providers (MassDEP).

A public water system is one that “for the provision to the public of water for human consumption…the system has at least 15 service connections or regularly serves an average of 25 individuals daily at least 60 days of the year.” - Mass.gov

In addition to residential regions, public water systems also serve mobile home parks, apartments, daycare facilities, campgrounds, dining establishments, nursing homes, etc. The Holiday Inn, Boxborough, Heritage Country Club, Charlton, and Country Hills Plaza Mendon are a few examples throughout Massachusetts.

PUBLIC WATER SUPPLIERS

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How Water Moves 

MassDEP has the ability to oversee Massachusetts public water systems across the state in accordance with the Drinking Water Regulations. In order to provide the state's citizens with clean, safe drinking water, they also have the power to demand adherence to their rules. There are more than 1,700 public water systems in the Massachusetts commonwealth.

Water is piped to the user after being drawn from a watershed. For instance, the city of Gloucetser obtains its water from a number of reservoirs, including Babson, Goose Cove, Dykes, Haskell, Wallace, and Klondike. Iron, manganese, organic material, algae, protozoa, viruses, and bacteria are all removed from the water systems through treatment. The Babson, West Gloucester, and Klondike Water Treatment Plants treat the reservoir water before it is pumped to the distribution system, storage facilities, and homes and businesses. A gravity flow system is employed at Babson and West Gloucester to transport water from the reservoir to the treatment facilities. After that, the water receives filtering and d

Gloucester, Massachusetts, area receive water service from the City of Gloucester Water Utilities, which is a division of the city department of public works. The projects are funded by the City of Gloucester for all maintenance and repairs.

All water used within homes and businesses is considered wastewater and sent to a treatment plant before re-entering the ecosystem.

Who is Responsible for Maintaining the Infrastructure?

The Safe Drinking Water Act was enacted by Congress in 1974 as a framework for public water regulation. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States also creates provisions to guarantee safe, clean drinking water. The EPA requires annual water quality reports as one measure to make sure municipalities are adhering to its regulations.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been given "primacy" by the EPA to control water in the state. All public water systems in the state are supervised and governed by the MassDEP. The Massachusetts Drinking Water Program and the MassDEP Drinking Water Regulations are the two primary rules and guidelines for public water systems. Water quantity falls under the MassDEP Water Management Act Program which regulates water withdrawals in Massachusetts.

Affects on Water Cycle

Surface water (lakes, rivers, and streams) and "source water," which is groundwater, are both sources of drinking water (aquifers). Almost 220,000 acres of land are used largely for the Commonwealth's drinking water supply. The lands in the watershed are shielded from construction, preserving the quality of the water.

The main issue within Massachusetts is the aging infrastructure of the state. The pipes, pumps and storage tanks that deliver the water are among the oldest in the nation with some over 100 years old. With the lifecycle of the infrastructure ending, erosion becomes a main issue as it disrupts the quality of the treated water and introduces harmful contaminants such as lead. This can greatly decrease the health of members of the community that use the water.