When Charlestown resident Haley Chute noticed lead in the water at the family’s single-family home during a home test, she notified the Boston Water and Sewer Commission.
Chute’s next stop was the Charlestown Neighborhood Council meeting Nov. 9, and Boston Water and Commission officials present at that meeting scheduled an immediate visit to the Chute home.
“They came out [Monday, Nov. 13] and found a lead pipe leading to our house from the street,” said Chute.
Chute, who is married and has three children, said the family has lived in their current home for three years. Since the recent discovery of lead in the water, Chute has brought her three children to a physician for blood tests.
“We’re waiting for results of the bloodwork,” said Chute. “They had been drinking the water from the sink. We’ve been getting bottled water since the home test. I think the more important thing is that the pipe is getting fixed, and the City paid attention, but it took a little bit to get their attention.”
The Chute family home is on Winthrop Street, where there is an ongoing construction project.
Tom Bagley, director of communications at Boston Water and Sewer Commission, said BWS workers confirmed that “a section of the pipe leading to the home was comprised of lead.”
“They are still doing construction work on Winthrop Street,” said Bagley. “They will be finishing the work in the next few days, so we’re going to take the bypass out and re-lay that section of pipe before the holiday [Thanksgiving] or right after the holiday. We’re going to replace the lead part of the pipe with copper pipe. This is definitely one of our main priorities.”
Bagley’s professionalism in the matter should not be underestimated. Bagley was “all-in” once he learned of the situation and spoke with clarity and concern at the CNC meeting. Representing the Boston Water and Sewer Commission (that has the immense task of managing the largest and oldest water and sewer system in New England that affects more than one million people daily), Bagley assured the CNC board that the matter would be addressed promptly. He personally sought out Mrs. Chute at the back of the meeting room to discuss and remedy the situation.
The prompt response from Boston Water and Sewer is also being hailed as a triumph for the Charlestown Neighborhood Council (CNC), the long-time community sounding board chaired by Tom Cunha.
“I had not gotten great reception from Boston Water and Sewer when I had called them about it, but clearly being at the Neighborhood Council meeting was helpful because they [Boston Water and Sewer] came out the following Monday and found the lead pipe,” said Chute. “Hopefully, the problem will be fixed, and we can move on.”
(Information from the Boston Water and Sewer Commission website was used in this story).