Drinking Water Information

12.17.2021: Important Update About Testing of Water on Campus

A communication sent to the Wellesley College community shared that following a November 2021 routine test of the College’s water at 26 locations across campus, Wellesley received notification that there were exceedances of lead in three locations: The Distribution Center, Simpson, and McAfee Hall. 

There are easy steps that individuals can take to reduce exposure to lead in water: 

  • Water bottle filling stations have been installed in major residential and academic buildings. These have filters to remove lead from water. We suggest using the water bottle fillers for drinking water.
  • Let the water run from the tap for at least 30 seconds before using it for drinking or cooking any time the water in each faucet has gone unused for more than six hours. For the first use of the day, in the morning, run the water for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Flushing the tap means running the cold-water faucet for about 15-30 seconds. Although toilet flushing or showering flushes water through a portion of the plumbing system, you still need to flush the water in each faucet before using it for drinking or cooking.
  • Note that boiling water does not reduce lead levels, so be sure to flush with cold water only.
  • Do not cook with, drink, or prepare baby formula from the hot water tap. Hot water can dissolve lead more quickly than cold water. If you need hot water, draw cold water from the tap and then heat it.


More information about what individuals can do to prevent exposure to lead in drinking water, sources of lead, and health effects can be found here. Contact Suzanne Howard, director of environmental health and safety, if you have any health concerns.


Update 8.6.2021:

In May and July 2021, Wellesley College conducted its first tests for six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, materials called PFAS6, in its campus drinking water wells. New rules and testing for polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) were rolled out last fall and this is the first year municipal communities and all state public water suppliers are required to test water for these substances.

The MassDEP standard requires that the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) for the sum of PFAS6 may not exceed 20 nanograms per liter (ng/L), also equal to 20 parts per trillion (ppt). From our samples taken in May and July, finished water from the College’s wells indicated results just at the MCL of 19.89 ppt. 

We are sharing this public education notice with our community, which includes information on the PFAS levels found in College water, an explanation of health effects, and steps community members can take to reduce exposure. For any questions related to the operation of Wellesley’s drinking water program, please contact Dave Chakraborty, assistant vice president of facilities management and planning. For any health-related concerns, contact Suzanne Howard, director of environmental health and safety.

Annual Drinking Water Quality Report

The reports below are snapshots of the drinking water quality that the College provided the previous year. Included in each report are details about where the water on campus comes from, what is in the water, and what the College does to ensure high-quality water for the College community and in compliance with state and federal standards.

2021 Consumer Confidence Report

2020 Consumer Confidence Report

2019 Consumer Confidence Report

2018 Consumer Confidence Report

2017 Consumer Confidence Report

2016 Consumer Confidence Report

2015 Consumer Confidence Report

2014 Consumer Confidence Report

2013 Consumer Confidence Report

2012 Consumer Confidence Report