MWRA chief says no problems detected with Quabbin water after trespass incident

The head of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority says there’s no evidence of any contamination at the Quabbin Reservoir after seven people were found allegedly trespassing there early Tuesday morning.

“We did thorough testing yesterday for a zillion things,” said Fred Laskey, executive director of the MWRA. “All those results are in. All the tests passed.”

State Police and the FBI are investigating after seven college-aged people from foreign countries were found just after midnight Tuesday at the Quabbin. The five men and two women told authorities they were recent graduates of nearby University of Massachusetts and Smith College.

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Laskey referred questions on the incident to the State Police, saying they’re in charge of security at the two main reservoirs, the Quabbin and Wachusett, that the MWRA uses to provide the greater Boston area with water.

State Police spokesman David Procopio said the investigation into the incident is ongoing and officials are not going to release the names of the individuals now. He said officials are gathering more information on the incident before commenting further.

Boston FBI spokesman Greg Comcowich said that whenever there is an incident involving critical infrastructure such as a reservoir, an electrical grid, or liquid natural gas facility, it is “standard or routine” for the FBI to take a look.

“The Fusion Center and the Joint Terrorism Task Force are called in and we do our due diligence,” he said.

He had no further comment on the incident and whether it might have raised terrorism concerns.

Laskey said the authority monitors water quality 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“Guaranteeing the water is safe and clean is what we do. That’s our job. And I like to think we do it well,” he said. “We monitor this real-time. We have seen no change in any of the water quality indicators.”

He said the authority has “state-of-the-art monitoring stations throughout our system” that do exhaustive testing and could detect any tampering with the water supply. “There’s really nothing to ramp up because we’re on full alert all the time,” he said.

He also said that for “operational reasons” the Quabbin is not even currently supplying water to the MWRA system.

Procopio said Tuesday that a trooper saw two cars parked at a reservoir park entrance at 12:30 a.m., then saw the group.

Procopio said the individuals were from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore, with addresses in Amherst, Cambridge, Sunderland and Northampton.

The men told police they were recently graduated chemical engineers curious about the reservoir.

State Police said there were no warrants out for them. All seven are to be summonsed to court to face trespassing charges, Procopio said.