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BREAKING: Boston, MA water supply interuptted

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User ID: 958042
United Kingdom
05/01/2010 06:20 PM
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BREAKING: Boston, MA water supply interuptted
[link to www.boston.com]

A major pipe bringing water to the Boston area has sprung a "catastrophic" leak and is dumping eight million gallons of water per hour into the Charles River. Governor Deval Patrick said he was declaring a state of emergency and issuing a "boil-water" order for Boston and dozens of other communities.

"The water is not suitable for drinking. ... All residents in impacted communities should boil drinking water before consuming it," he said at a news conference this afternoon.

Patrick said the state had asked bottled water companies to make more water available in the state and emergency drinking water supplies could also be made available to the affected communities through the National Guard.

"I ask everyone to check in on elderly or vulnerable neighbors," he said, and he asked people to avoid "unncessary use of water, such as washing cars and lawnwatering."

The break is in a 10-foot-diameter pipe on Recreation Road in Weston, where the MWRA's MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel meets the City Tunnel, bringing water into Boston and other Massachusetts Water Resources Authority communities, the authority said in a statement.

"That is a catastrophic break and we are currently activating the reserves," said MWRA spokeswoman Ria Convery. MWRA officials said just over a million people would be affected in 31 cities and towns.

MWRA Executive Director Fred Laskey said the leak began between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. today and the pipe continued to fail until it failed "catastrophically."

The "good news" is that "we continue to maintain the flow for firefighting" and for toilets and other non-drinking purposes, said Laskey, who joined Patrick at a news conference at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Framingham.

The two tunnels carry treated water east from Weston towards Boston. The City Tunnel carries an average of nearly 179 million gallons per day.

Convery said that a backup system would be used, which would pull water from the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and Spot Pond Reservoir, as well as an alternate aqueduct, the Sudbury Aqueduct.

But she said the water that flows into the system would need to be boiled. Communities as far north as Wilmington and as far south as Stoughton would be affected.

After the backup system is activated, the City Tunnel would be shut down for evaluation and repairs, Convery said.

Water gushed out from the ground at the MWRA facility on Recreation Road near Interstate 95 in Weston this afternoon and flowed rapidly downhill into the Charles River. Crews stood by, waiting for the water to be shut off so they could get to work, as a crowd of reporters watched.

Tom Lindberg, an MWRA spokesman, said that the pipe that broke was installed in 2002. He said no homes or properties in the immediate area were affected by the rushing water.

"This is the most catastrophic breach we've had. It's significant," he said.

The MWRA system provides water to a total 48 communities, according to the authority's website. The water usually comes from the Quabbin Reservoir, 65 miles west of Boston, and the Wachusett Reservoir, 35 miles west of Boston, and flows through aqueducts east into the Boston area.
 Quoting: [link to www.boston.com]
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 957731
United States
05/01/2010 06:22 PM
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Re: BREAKING: Boston, MA water supply interuptted

It's all coming down, ahhhhh!