Water Main Break Impacting Water Quality in 6 Massachusetts Communities

A large water main break impacted residents in at least six Massachusetts communities Friday afternoon.

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority said crews were able to isolate the break on the Winchester-Stoneham line and reroute the flow of water within about an hour.

"The leak has been isolated and shut off. We're now doing an assessment," said MWRA executive director Fred Laskey.

Laskey said a contractor doing geotech work in the woods accidentally hit the water main.

"The contractor inadvertently drilled a hole into the top of the 48-inch high-pressure water main that serves 6 communities, about 150,000 people," said Laskey.

NBC10 Boston's Sky Ranger helicopter captured dramatic images of water shooting up into the air.

Residents in Stoneham, Reading, Wakefield, Winchester, Wilmington and Woburn may have low pressure and discolored water due to the break, the MWRA said. Officials said residents should avoid washing their light-colored clothes until the problem is resolved.

The MWRA said it is trying to minimize service interruptions, but crews are still assessing the situation and it could take a few days to make all of the necessary repairs.

"It appears the hole is right in the top of the pipe which is a good thing — it will be easier to repair. We have a repair pipe being flown in tonight from Illinois. As soon as that arrives, we will begin the repair tomorrow," said Laskey.

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