The Hopkinton Water Department recently released the excellent annual Water Quality Report (available at for the year 2021. Substances such as asbestos, nitrate, tetrachlorethylene, PFAS6 and others are reported as detected and their effect on our water quality is noted. (The water department is currently working to filter out PFAS from Well 6.) This annual report is of course about the municipal water supply; owners well water is not (and cannot be) included.

Nearly a third of residences in Hopkinton depend on their own wells for their water to wash the car, to water the lawn and for drinking and cooking. We, providing our own water, should have a stake in the quality of that water. When our homes were built water quality reports were required by our local health department and are required again when/if we sell our homes meaning that for a decade or two homeowners can ignore the quality of their water. Some are diligent enough to test their well water occasionally or even frequently. The rest of us should consider it at least as important as an annual inspection of our cars’ horns and brakes.

Water quality test kits are available for us to perform our own tests, but few of us are equipped or instructed on how a test should be handled and treated, including the need for containers clean and sterilized faucets. There are accredited laboratories for this purpose.

The use, preservation and eventual reuse of natural resources is a topic that is getting a lot of attention these days. How we use water, one of the three or four absolute necessities of life, whereby we draw water from the ground through a well, use it casually and then return it to the ground through a separate septic tank at a hundred feet from the well, is an example of ancient efficiency, practical and inexpensive. The process relies on the earth to purify our water; the process deserves our attention.

-Robert W. Foster, Hopkinton

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