During the peak summer months, this is not an uncommon issue. Approximately 3% of samples tested show reduced levels of chlorine and/or increased water temperatures.
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Each week, the City of Malden and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA), which provides Malden with its drinking water, conducts water tests on 18 sites across the City. These tests largely act as an early warning system for problems that may be developing with water quality. The most recent tests for this area show chlorine disinfectant levels below the optimal levels and higher than normal water temperatures, which can lead to poor water quality. This flushing program is one of several steps taken to address these most recent test results.
During the summer months, areas with lower water flow and older pipes can cause stagnant water and reduced chlorine levels. When combined with higher seasonal water temperatures, this can lead to poor water quality. The weekly testing by the City of Malden and the MWRA is intended to be a warning signal so that we can address any problematic symptoms before they become unsafe.
With the most recent bout of extreme temperatures ending this week, the flushing is intended to move fresh, colder water through the system at a rapid pace and 'flush out' any stagnant and higher temperature water from the system.
We always recommend running the water for a brief period before utilizing it for drinking water to flush out stale water and any impurities that may exist within the pipes of your own home. However, no additional precautions need to be taken to safely use the water from the tap. Precautions should be taken before doing laundry to make sure the water is not colored.
The Engineering office and Public Works Department are working closely together to identify opportunities to increase water flow rates through the system. We believe this along with the passing of the extreme temperatures we've experienced will both play critical roles in resolving this situation. We also continue to aggressively replace aging pipes across the City.
Please contact the City of Malden's Department of Public Works at 781-397-7160 if you need additional information on this matter.