Tap Water Problems Reported in South Woburn

Residents relay concerns, provide water samples to City Council committee.


Would you brush your teeth with brownish water from your water faucet? Or cook with it?

Some 20 people attended last night’s City Council Committee on Infrastructure and Public Lands meeting to discuss what they and several aldermen described as ongoing problems with tap water in homes on certain streets in south Woburn.

Pierce Street resident Robert Salzer brought two plastic bottles of water from his home. The liquid was the color of cola. Other residents told the committee how the water has affected sinks, toilets, showers, shower curtains, filters—and even their water usage. Some said they drink only bottled water now. Boiling the tap water leaves a residue, according to Stanley Terrace resident Mark Surette.

Before the meeting started, Hugues Bernard of Maria Court told Woburn Patch he came to the meeting because sometimes the tap water at the home where he has lived for seven years is “chocolate brown.” 

“Clean water is a necessity,” said Ward 1 Ald. Rosa DiTucci. “We don’t have it [in wards 1 and 2]." 

Residents of one street can’t brush their teeth or cook with city water, DiTucci said. They bathe in it “reluctantly,” she said.

Residents were told the problems would be fixed, DiTucci said.

But they were “empty promises,” she said.

The aldermen have asked for water improvements to be made in south Woburn for two years, according to committee Chairman and Ward 2 Ald. Richard Gately. A Request for Proposals to address the problem hasn’t even been drawn up yet, he said.

The committee voted to recommend that the water problems on several streets be solved within four months.

In some cases, water pipes have to be replaced, DiTucci said. In others, they have to be relined.

Gately was displeased that several department heads were absent from the meeting.

He also said that the Infrastructure Committee’s input is no longer welcome on city infrastructure projects.

Janet Levesque February 17, 2012 at 08:54 PM
I didn't think of that. Let's all bring our appliance and fixture repair bills to city hall along with our stained and ruined whites.
Pat February 18, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Janet, I checked the city doesn't have impeachment but get enough people to sign he can be written out. I think they tried this in Lawrence
Andrea February 21, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I agree. It got worse after all the work they did. Water tastes and smells like geese plus chemicals and is undrinkable. Disgusting.
Pat February 24, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Can anyone tell me why all I smell is bleach when I run my water??? Ever since people have the dirty water issue was made public I have a strong odor of bleach from the water. Dumping bleach will only mask the problem not solve it! I think we should call the DEP for help!
Workin Woburn February 01, 2013 at 08:32 PM
I work at 71 Pine Street and the facility was newly reopened for use. The company had to have the pipes flushed 3 or 4 times and go further down the street to flush before the contaminant levels in the water were low enough to hook up our toilet, which makes me think it was borderline at best. A water fountain was just installed so now my company is going to get rid of the bottled water. Based on everything I read online and what residents have to say I'm going to bring in my own bottled water every day.


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