They found it.
Crews in Weston said today they dug up the key and elusive piece of evidence a 10-foot wide metal pipe connector that burst open during the May 1 water break and disrupted the water supply for 2 million people in Greater Boston.
Crews had searched exhaustively for more than two months for the one-ton contraption, frustrating investigators who have been trying to figure out what went wrong.
Just this morning, the head of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority told state legislators that the agency was considering giving up on the search if nothing turned up by Friday afternoon.
Ria Convery, an agency spokeswoman on the phone from Weston just after 3 p.m., said she could see one of two pieces in the ground Crews have been digging 40 feet below the ground today.
I can see the whole of one piece, she said. Its in the excavation that we were digging on the north side of the pipe.
Earlier today, workers recovered a sealing plate -- the second such plate recovered -- buoying hopes that the coupling could be found.
"It's given them a little boost that we might be at least hunting in the right area,'' Fred Laskey, executive director of Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, said at the time.
The leak at the juncture of two major water pipes dumped millions of gallons of water into the nearby Charles River. The MWRA was forced to switch to backup water, and, because of concerns about its purity, nearly 2 million people in the Boston area were ordered to boil their water for drinking and cooking for 2 1/2 days.
On the beat
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