Weston water main break not worst-case

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May 2, 2010, 5:50 pm

(NECN: Alysha Palumbo - Weston, Mass.) - Saturday's catastrophic water main break has been contained, and MWRA Executive Director Fred Laskey says concerns over how long it will take to fix the crack and get the system back online have been at least somewhat alleviated.

"We were fearful when we pumped the water down we would find that the side of the pipe that was blown out," said Laskey, "but what we believe is that the integrity of the pipes on both sides are intact."

Laskey says we're fortunate the break was not in the actual pipe but in the coupling, just like this one, which is much easier to replace.
"They should be welding most of the day to get that metal band around the two pipes and sealed.  When that's complete we'll begin pressure testing to make sure that there's not collateral damage somewhere else that we can't see," said Laskey.
In the meantime, Governor Deval Patrick has declared a state of emergency and formally asked the White House for assistance Sunday.  But he says this rupture could have been much worse for Bay State residents.
Governor Patrick said, "There were 265 million gallons of water released during this breech and it's a blessing that it flowed down into the Charles River, which is just down this way and not into homes and neighborhoods."
The governor says although the old infrastructure has worked well as a backup system to ensure the affected communities don't lose water pressure, the state is working on a better system for the future.
"We are in the process right now of building a redundant system - a modern redundant system - so that if there is a failure of this kind there's an immediate shift over to a purified drinking water system," said the governor.
Dr. Lauren Smith with Massachusetts' Department of Public Health says for now boiling water for drinking, washing produce, and making baby formula is the best precaution to prevent illness.
"People need to understand, it's not that we know that it's contaminated, just that it might be," said Dr. Smith.

Tags: pipe, MWRA, Weston, water leak
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