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Aquapocalypse

By adamg - 5/25/11 - 10:54 am

Failed boltFailed boltA panel of experts assembled by the MWRA blames last spring's catastrophic collapse of the main aqueduct feeding Boston on poorly constructed studs holding together a connection between two parts of the giant water pipe.

The failure of the aquaduct in Weston left much of the Boston area without potable water for several days.

In a report released today, the panel said cracked studs, inadequately protected from corrosion and subjected to greater than designed pressure gave way, leading to a sudden rupture of the coupling. It didn't help, the report adds, that rubber O-rings in the coupling were apparently glued in place with the equivalent of Super Glue, rather than using a factory vulcanization process.

While the stud material hardness was consistent with those specified for the coupling they exhibited characteristics that suggest poor fabrication. Cracks were present on essentially all of the thread "crowns." Additionally, cracks were present at many of the thread "roots." Upon further examination it was determined that the root cracks were located within 9 threads of the fracture surfaces. This location is consistent with the location of the highest stud load.

By adamg - 5/2/11 - 8:48 am

The Globe reports the MWRA is preparing a lawsuit against the companies responsible for the failed coupling that left us all boiling water and scrambling for loose Aquafina bottles at the supermarket.

By Lanny Budd - 5/9/10 - 7:34 pm

I went down to the Tedeschi's on the corner of Truman Parkway and Fairmount Avenue to get the Sunday paper and coffee. They have been kind enough for the last several years to ask the Globe driver for a paper with a South Section insert and set it aside for me so I can get the Milton news. This morning there was a whole crew of new faces who looked blankly at me when I asked for my paper, so I asked where Tariq (the manager) was. The new people said that he was no longer there and that the store was now owned and operated by the corporation.

By ShaneCurcuru - 5/4/10 - 6:53 am

Ban lifted at 3 a.m. But officials say: Let your cold water run for a minute and your hot water run for 15 minutes (if you have a 40-gallon water heater) or 30 minutes (80 gallons) before drinking deeply of the local tap water.

From the governor's office:

By Kaz - 5/3/10 - 9:13 pm

MWRA surveillance video of the catastrophic failure

Come and listen to a story about a man named Sal
A Boston urbanite, who was golfing with a pal,
Saturday at Leo J, he was shootin' under par,
And up through the ground came a bubblin' water.

Agua that is, H-two-O, Adam's ale.

Well the first thing you know ol' Sal's a sloppy mess,
His buddies all laughed at his obvious distress
They said it looks to us like you couldn't wait to pee
So they put him in the trunk and drove him home to Beverly.

Ad:
By Lanny Budd - 5/3/10 - 5:34 pm

On the way back from a Lank's run, we saw the Channel 7 news truck outside the Tedeschi's on Truman Highway. Probably something to do with Aquapocalypse, we thought. Checked the WHDH web site to find that the breaking news was the scandal of the employees there putting together bottles of water into improvised cases - at the demand of customers - and selling them at half the price they would have charged for the same number of individual bottles. OMG! Where is Hank Phillipi Ryan when you need her?

By ShaneCurcuru - 5/3/10 - 7:28 am

So says the MWRA updates page (yes, refresh it).

Community Update

The 120” pipe connection has been repaired, pressurized and put back into service. Fully treated water has been distributed to the MWRA system since about 6 PM on Sunday and is expected to continue. Water pressure in MWRA service area is in typical ranges.

Please remember that a Boil Water Order is in effect for the following communities until otherwise notified and water use should be restricted to essential use only.

By adamg - 5/1/10 - 3:18 pm

UPDATE: 10 p.m.: The state says workers have stopped the leak in Weston but that it could be "days at a minimum, we're hoping not weeks" before the boil-water order is lifted. ... If you have water-related questions, you can call 211. ... The state has posted an FAQ, including answers to questions about such things as giving babies baths and whether dishwashers and automatic coffee machines are safe. ... Map of Boston neighborhoods (yes, Allston and Brighton are part of Boston).

Boil that water until further notice, the MWRA warns:

A BOIL WATER ORDER IS BEING ISSUED FOR DRINKING WATER FOR ALL MWRA COMMUNITIES EAST OF WESTON UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. ... MWRA is activating its emergency water supplies such as the Sudbury Aqueduct, Chestnut Hill Reservoir and Spot Pond Reservoir. THIS WATER WILL NOT BE SUITABLE FOR DRINKING, but can be used for bathing, flushing and fire protection.

According to the state Department of Environmental Water, this means bringing "the water to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute." If you go out to eat, do NOT drink fountain soda - unless you're going into Cambridge, which has its own water supply separate from the MWRA.

The MWRA adds:

The leak is located at the location where the MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel meets the City Tunnel on Recreation Road. This 120-inch diameter pipe transports water to our communities east of Weston – as far north as Wilmington and south to Stoughton. Water is leaking into the Charles River at rate of over 8 million gallons an hour. MWRA crews are on site; engineers are assessing the situation to determine next steps.

The Boston Police Department held over officers from the day shift so they can begin driving around the city notifying residents of the emergency order over loudspeakers.

List of affected communities:

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