What is potentially in the source water?

The following contaminants may be present in source water before treatment. Hand holding glass of water towards clear blue skyMicrobial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, may come from sewage treatment plants, septic systems, agricultural livestock operations and wildlife.

Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, can be naturally-occurring or result from urban storm water runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges, oil and gas production, mining and farming. Pesticides and herbicides, may come from a variety of sources such as agriculture, urban storm water runoff, and residential uses.

Radioactive contaminants, can be naturally- occurring or can be the result of oil and gas production, and mining activities. Organic chemical contaminants, include synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, that are by-products of industrial processes and petroleum production, and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff, and septic systems.

Is tap water safe for everyone to drink?

Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, Hands holding fresh tomato under running water at sinkand infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.

If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. The Sandwich Water District is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.

Contact EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline for more information about contaminants and potential health effects; and EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants: 1-800-426-4791.

wet green leaf dripping water into a sink containing fresh waterWhat is being done to ensure that my tap water is safe to drink?

In order to ensure that tap water is safe to drink, EPA prescribes regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. Food and Drug Administration regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water that must provide the same protection for public health.

Protect Your Drinking Water from Cross Connections.

A cross connection occurs whenever a potable drinking water line is directly or indirectly connected to a piece of equipment or piping containing non-potable water. In the event of a backflow incident, through either backpressure or back-siphonage, an unprotected cross connection in your home could cause the water system within your home and also within the water distribution system in the street to become contaminated. The outside water tap and garden hose tend to be the most common cross connection in the home. The garden hose becomes a hazard when connected to a chemical sprayer for weed killing and fertilizer applications. This cross connection can be easily protected by purchasing a small device known as a vacuum breaker. Vacuum breakers can be purchased at your local hardware store and are very inexpensive and easy to install. The vacuum breaker should be installed on all your outside faucets. Other potential cross connections can occur on lawn irrigation systems and fire protection systems. For more information on cross connections, please feel free to contact the Sandwich Water District

How can I learn more about water issues?

You are welcome to attend the Board of Water Commissioners meetings held at the Sandwich Water District Office, 72 Tupper Road, Sandwich, MA.

The Board meetings are scheduled for the second Thursday of each month at 5:00 p.m. and the Annual Water District Meeting is scheduled for the third Monday in May.


Water droplet with ripples in water


Hazardous Waste

The improper disposal of hazardous materials can cause serious contamination to water supplies and the environment. As residents of Cape Cod we all can contribute to protecting our natural resources through proper waste disposal. Do not pour hazardous wastes or paints down any septic systems, private or public drains, on the ground, or into waterways. Safe disposal of materials through the Hazardous Waste Collection Program will help to keep our drinking water and our community pollution-free.

For more information on theplease contact Cape Cod Cooperative Extension at 508-375-6699 or go to



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