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National Drinking Water Database


Arsenic (total) in Massachusetts


Arsenic contaminates drinking water due to mining runoff, erosion of natural deposits, emissions from glass and electronics processing and the use of arsenical compounds as wood preservatives and pesticides. [read more]

The Most Polluted Communities in Massachusetts

92 water utilities reported detecting Arsenic (total) in tap water since 2004, according to EWG's analysis of water quality data supplied by state water agencies

Ranked by highest average Arsenic (total) level

RankSystem Population Served Positive test results of total reported tests Average Level
(Range)
1Cool Sandy Beach Community Water System
Rutland, MA
7020 of 2418.42 ppb
(0 to 28.08 ppb)
2Lancaster Woods Condominiums
MA
1205 of 612.33 ppb
(0 to 18 ppb)
3Cherry Valley & Rochdale Water District
Leicester, MA
4,50019 of 2111.71 ppb
(0 to 25 ppb)
4Leicester Water Supply District
Leicester, MA
3,30019 of 2311.28 ppb
(0 to 25.33 ppb)
5Saint Benedict Abbey
Harvard, MA
356 of 1010.8 ppb
(0 to 29.2 ppb)
6Meadow Woods Mobile Home Park
Lunenburg, MA
1309 of 1010.67 ppb
(0 to 29 ppb)
7Hillcrest Water District
Leicester, MA
1,50018 of 2310.43 ppb
(0 to 26 ppb)
8Ayer Dpw Water Division
Ayer, MA
6,70011 of 209.28 ppb
(0 to 28 ppb)
9Foxglove Apartments
Harvard, MA
252 of 38.89 ppb
(0 to 24.67 ppb)
10Mci Shirley Prerelease Center
Shirley, MA
3,50010 of 157.87 ppb
(0 to 20 ppb)

Health Based Limits for Arsenic (total)

StandardDescriptionLevel
Maximum Contaminant Limit Goal (MCLG)A non-enforceable health goal that is set at a level at which no known or anticipated adverse effect on the health of persons occurs and which allows an adequate margin of safety. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.0 ppb
California Public Health GoalsDefined by the State of California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) as the level of contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. For acutely toxic substances, levels are set at which scientific evidence indicates that no known or anticipated adverse effects on health will occur, plus an adequate margin-of safety. PHGs for carcinogens or other substances which can cause chronic disease shall be based solely on health effects without regard to cost impacts and shall be set at levels which OEHHA has determined do not pose any significant risk to health.<0.01 ppb
EPA Human Health Water Quality CriteriaWater quality criteria set by the US EPA provide guidance for states and tribes authorized to establish water quality standards under the Clean Water Act (CWA) to protect human health. These are non-enforceable standards based upon exposure by both drinking water and the contribution of water contamination to other consumed foods. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.0.02 ppb
One in one million (10-6) Cancer RiskThe concentration of a chemical in drinking water corresponding to an excess estimated lifetime cancer risk of 1 in 1,000,000. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.0.02 ppb
One in ten thousand (10-4) Cancer RiskThe concentration of a chemical in drinking water corresponding to an excess estimated lifetime cancer risk of 1 in 10,000. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.2 ppb
Maximum Contaminant Limit (MCL)The enforceable standard which defines the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to health-based limits (Maximum Contaminant Level Goals, or MCLGs) as feasible using the best available analytical and treatment technologies and taking cost into consideration. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.10 ppb
Drinking Water Equivalent LevelA lifetime exposure concentration protective of adverse, noncarcinogenic health effects, that assumes all of the exposure to a contaminant is from drinking water. Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.10 ppb

Violation Summary for Arsenic (total) in Massachusetts

Data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency includes the following violations of federal standards in Massachusetts since 2004

Violation TypeNumber of Violations
Over maximum contaminant level, Average49
Failure to monitor regularly41