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January 26, 2018 | Category: Announcement

TO: Faculty and Staff, Medford/Somerville

To Students, Faculty and Staff on the Medford/Somerville Campus:

We’re writing with an update on our message sent just before winter break regarding water quality testing on the Medford/Somerville campus. We want you to know:

  • The results of that testing, in which all of the samples were found to be safe for drinking and food preparation;
  • Steps that we took in response to interim results; and
  • Who to contact if you have questions.

As detailed in a message to the Medford/Somerville campus community last month, an undergraduate student requested permission to conduct drinking water quality testing as part of an academic research project under the guidance of her faculty advisor. With the support and collaboration of a number of university departments, including Facilities Services and Environmental Health and Safety, the student sampled the drinking water in 17 residential buildings and 17 academic/research buildings. The research involved collecting samples from approximately 5 to 10 drinking water outlets at each location and then analyzing the samples for total lead content.

Tufts closely monitors the environmental health and safety of its facilities. However, because some university buildings and plumbing fixtures are older, we informed the campus community before the winter break that it was possible that our undergraduate student could uncover positive results in some locations.

The student recently concluded her research after sampling and testing water from all 34 buildings. All of the test sites were found to meet federal standards for water that is safe for drinking and preparing food.

The student’s initial results identified four sinks in two buildings that had questionable results. The four sinks in question, in Davies House/International House and Hillside Apartment 110, were immediately taken offline and residents were provided with bottled water while the university conducted confirmation analysis via an independent, third-party lab approved by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Based on this analysis, the sinks in question were found to be safe and have been put back into service. The independent, third-party lab’s test results were consistent with subsequent re-testing performed by the student.

We are committed to the health and safety of our community and to transparency in our communications about this process. If you have questions, please contact Jason Erbach, Environmental Manager, at or 617.636.2797.


Barbara Stein
Vice President for Operations

Mary Pat McMahon
Dean of Student Affairs


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