Berkshire County town adds cancer worries to water woes


An earlier version of this story said chlorine was used to control the issue. Instead, Housatonic Water Works said, "the amount of disinfectant used impacts the formation of haloacetic acid, and there is a balance required between using chlorine to control pathogenic microorganisms and the undesirable byproducts of the chlorination process." This means chlorine is the cause of rather high levels of the compound.

HOUSATONIC, Mass. – People living in a small Berkshire County town are fed up with how bad their water is.

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Residents in Housatonic were notified in January about a cancer-causing compound in their main water supply.

The residents say this just adds to the list of issues.

On top of a particle that’s now in their drinking water, they say they’ve had problems with the water quality for decades.

Residents received a notice from Housatonic Water Works. It says there are high levels of haloacetic acid in the water.

Housantic Water Works is a privately-owned water utility company that’s regulated by the state of Massachusetts. They are the sole supplier of drinking water for the whole town.

The notice was given to residents on January 10.

Since then, Housatonic Water Works put out a separate release. It states, "The most likely cause identified is a potential change in natural organic matter present in their water source…due to the extremely rainy summer and wettest July in recorded history."

The notice also mentions that people who drink water containing this compound over many years may have an increased risk of cancer.

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Hear complaints from residents who say the water has caused problems with their skin, by watching the video of Tessa Bentulan’s story.