Text of Gov. Patrick's statement
BOSTON –- Governor Deval Patrick today announced that the water flowing to Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) communities is once again clean and safe for all purposes, following repair of the rupture of the major water supply line to much of Greater Boston on Saturday, May 1st. Governor Patrick will hold a press conference to discuss the lifting of the order at 6:30 a.m. at MWRA headquarters in Chelsea.
"Thanks to the efforts of MWRA and the whole team of state agencies who have responded to this emergency, the people of Boston and surrounding communities can once again rely on the safety of their tap water for drinking," said Governor Patrick in a statement. "With a few simple steps, residents and businesses can now go back to normal water use, with full confidence."
The boil-water order, which was issued at 4 p.m. on Saturday, has been lifted for 29 of the 30 MWRA communities east of Weston whose water service was interrupted by a rupture of the MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel on Saturday. One community - Saugus - is still under the boil-water order, pending results of water tests expected early this morning.
Since Monday morning, more than 800 water samples at 482 locations have been taken in affected communities, with those samples tested by MWRA under protocols agreed-upon with the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). Those tests have shown no contamination that could threaten public health. As a result, the boil water order can be lifted, and normal use of water can be resumed, in 29 of the 30 affected communities, following certain steps to ensure than any less-than-fully treated water is purged from the water supply system in homes, businesses, and institutions.
"Governor Patrick's priorities have always been public safety and public health, and with the efforts of state agencies and the cooperation of the public, both have been fully protected under difficult circumstances," said Ian Bowles, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
"I commend the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Mayor Menino and other local officials, National Guard, MassDOT, the Teamsters, and private vendors for their response to this water crisis and mobilizing to deliver bottled water where it was most needed," said Mary Beth Heffernan, Secretary of Public Safety and Security.
"I could not be more proud of the MWRA team and its partners, for the job they have done responding to this unprecedented challenge and achieving such a quick resolution," said Fred Laskey, executive director of the MWRA.
Beginning at approximately 6:40 p.m. Saturday, back-up water supply of chlorinated, but not fully treated water from the Chestnut Hill reservoir was used to supplement treated water delivered through the Hultman Aqueduct (which is in the midst of rehabilitation to provide redundant capacity for the MetroWest Tunnel) to maintain water pressure for flushing, fire fighting, and other priority uses. But this water was not deemed safe for drinking or cooking without decontamination by boiling for at least a full minute.
The source of the rupture was determined to be a failed coupling connecting sections of the MetroWest Tunnel in Weston. With crews working through the night, MWRA and its contractors were able to fabricate a replacement coupling and install it by 4 a.m. on Monday, May, 3rd. After pressure testing and disinfection, the repaired MetroWest Tunnel was up and running by 6 a.m., in time for the morning peak water demand.
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