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Boston boils its water...state of emergency declared

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posted on May, 2 2010 @ 02:08 AM

'Boil-water' order issued for nearly 2 million in Mass.

A major pipe bringing water to the Boston area has sprung a "catastrophic" leak and is dumping eight million gallons of water per hour into the Charles River. Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency and issued a "boil-water" order for Boston and dozens of other communities.

"The water is not suitable for drinking. ... All residents in impacted communities should boil drinking water before consuming it," he said at a news conference this afternoon.

Patrick said the state had asked bottled water companies to make more water available in the state and emergency drinking water supplies could also be made available to the affected communities through the National Guard.

8 million gallons an hour???

That is huge!

Tunnel failure came before backup could be finished

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority engineers knew it was a race against time to build a backup system to ensure Greater Boston residents have clean water to drink.

Yesterday, they lost.

The article continues:

Ever since the massive MetroWest tunnel carrying drinking water from the Quabbin was built seven years ago, engineers have been working on the pipe it replaced — the Hultman Aqueduct, which was constructed in 1939 and runs from Marlborough to Weston.

The MetroWest tunnel, part of a $1.7 billion water system upgrade, was celebrated as a state-of-the-art tunnel, but engineers — and government officials — feared a terrorist attack or some catastrophic failure to such a critical aqueduct.

So they began working on retrofitting the Hultman tunnel, which carried virtually all the water to Greater Boston for decades. After years of detailed inspections, construction began in July to repair it and build five connector pipes to the MetroWest tunnel that runs roughly parallel to it a few hundred feet away. The idea was that if there were a major problem with water flowing to Greater Boston residents, they could divert water from the MetroWest tunnel over to the Hultman.

“We are in the middle of a massive rehab of the Hultman to exactly avoid this from happening,’’ a grim Frederick A. Laskey, the MWRA executive director, said yesterday. “It’s unbelievable.’’

The $48 million repair program was scheduled to be completed in 2014 and included repair of some 13 miles of pipe, culverts, manholes, and other work, according to the MWRA website.

So the impact of this failure is equal to the impact of an already contemplated hypothetical terrorist attack on that very same pipe. (I wonder where the details of that analysis are? Those would be interesting to read.)

This might be very, very serious.

If repairs were going to take another four years to complete, how quickly can they reasonably be expected to come up with a solution to the immediate problem??????

On a side note, are we seeing the decay of our infrastructure?

[edit on 2-5-2010 by loam]

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 02:27 AM
It's nuts lol.

Seems like civilization is just breaking down all around us.

Maybe we need more repair workers to cover all of our infrastructure.

I guess they are right when they say "America is crumbling".

We need to devote some major resources to going over everything and fixing anything that is falling into disrepair.

As you can see from this event, the situation can affect everyone and it can literally change our lives drastically.

These issues need to be resolved immediately.

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 02:47 AM
This is definitely dire news for Mass. Residents. Hope they get it fixed soon.

On a side note, for those referring to other infrastructure in need of repairs. We have over 1,000 damns in this country... and they are all in moderate to severe disrepair, according to the Core of Engineers.
Bridges are also behind schedule for maintenance too, I believe.

It’s falling down around us... and I’m not sure if there is a way to save it. The infrastructure, I mean.

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 02:53 AM
We need to elect people who put infrastructure as the #1 priority.

Sadly though, all these politicians care about is scoring brownie points with shallow groups and getting payoffs from their lobbyist buddies.

Maybe I should run for office.

I will for sure put infrastructure first and foremost on my priority list.

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 04:03 AM
spending money on infrastructure takes a lot of money and that means higher taxes. Would people be willing to do that? The money will need to come from somewhere and that money the US just doesn't have or is likely to have in the near future. If you compare the infrastructure in the US to some places in Europe (I lived in Florida and now live in Amsterdam), the difference is quite astounding but places like Holland have taxes through the roof and a defense budget a fraction of the US..

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 04:30 AM
Okay, these governmental officials need to get their frelling asses out of making predictions of how long something is going to take, in regards to repairs or infrastructure creation.

How long has this government been telling us that to create just one new oil refinery, it would take 10 years? Or to bring in oil fields in say Alaska? 10 years right?

Well at least in this situation they brought their standard 10 year argument down to 4 years.

Sorry, I am a construction specialist. I can build anything if there are blueprints. I have worked as an A&P Mechanic, Businessman and most recently a Site Super for a land development company.

The whole problem of construction in this country is the bureucratic red tape and the government's role in the construction. It has always been the government's delay tactics and their inability to make decisions. Also, the energy companies, that are regulated by the government so much they may as well be the government, are another huge component of the problems.

An example, I built a two building site in Fresno. First off the plans for the site were all complete we just needed to tie into the infrastructure already there. The sewer system for some reason had not been tied together when they built the road. It had been stopped on both sides of the land. They wanted us to pay for the tying together of the system instead of just tying the site to what was there. This is what a lot of people do not understand. The infrastructure of this country has NOT been built by the government. They force private developers to pay for it and then they take it over. Period.

Next, PG&E came out to design the electrical system and the layout for the gas. I knew that the standard wait for their design would take forever. So before they came out, I investigated all the areas splice boxes, transformers etc. Then I designed the sites systems knowing their requirements and the code for locations. Their engineer came out and I gave them my design, their engineer actually called my bosses and told them to give me a raise. It was quite refreshing. But, here is what happened, it took them 6 weeks to okay the design, then, my subs put in the underground conduits splice boxes and pads for the above ground components. This is the part that always drove me nuts, now we get put on the LIST. Three months down the road they come in and pull the cable. Because at the time of OUR construction, we cannot tie in our boxes, we have to wait til PG&E comes for that, we cannot work on the areas where they do the tie in, we have to dig it up AGAIN.

This is what takes so long to build things. It has nothing to do with the construction. It is the components that are related to the government or their regulated components.

I would say now 50-75% of the cost of building anything here in the States has to do with governmental red tape and their part in construction.

Just as one example, if you remember a large overpass that had been damaged in California. Contractors were asked to bid on the repair and make it a point for expedience. All contractors bids included a part that stated that inspectors would be required to be on site at all times. That is one of the largest delays in construction now. You have to call in inspectors to make the required inspections and the write ups on the inspection cards. At that point, work pretty much comes to a stand still in that area.

When I do estimates on construction schedules, if the site is not a huge one, where I can rotate the work force, I double the time for inspections alone.

Sorry OP, I went on a tangent. Give me an on site inspection force by the government and then force the government's components to actually do their jobs in a timely fashion and I could cut any of their time frames to 1/4 of their estimates. At least 1/4.

[edit on 5/2/2010 by endisnighe]

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 04:33 AM
How is this so dire?

I mean come on, you're telling me there are really people that drink out of that tap in any big city?


posted on May, 2 2010 @ 06:40 AM

A ‘catastrophic’ rupture hits region’s water system

The crisis began around 10 a.m. yesterday when a 10-foot-wide pipe in Weston sprang a leak, which worsened throughout the afternoon and eventually cut off Greater Boston from the Quabbin Reservoir, where most of its water supply is stored.

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority said it could continue supplying water by activating a backup system that began drawing water last night from the Sudbury Reservoir, and can also tap into the Weston and Spot Pond reservoirs if necessary. The backup water, which one official compared with “untreated pond water,’’ can be used for bathing and flushing toilets, but not for drinking or cooking.

Authorities said they were attempting to set up mobile units to chlorinate the backup water supply, but they cautioned that even so, the water from the backup system would not meet federal drinking water standards.

“This is everyone’s worst nightmare in the water industry,’’ said Frederick A. Laskey, executive director of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.


Officials said they did not know how long it would take to restore clean drinking water to the region, but Laskey said he hopes it will be “days, not weeks.’’

Officials also said they did not know what caused the relatively new seven-year-old steel pipe to break 20 feet underground, near Recreation Road by the intersection of the Massachusetts Turnpike and Route 128.


Officials said that if they cannot repair the pipe with a temporary patch, a new custom-made pipe might have to be built.


Residents, businesses race to adapt; water vanishes from stores

Boston police cruised streets, using bullhorns to warn people to boil water before drinking. In many other communities, residents received automated phone calls and fliers with similar instructions.

Supermarkets saw a run on bottled water, with shelves being emptied in hours.

Nearly 2 million people in communities east of Weston yesterday were abruptly forced to change the way they’ve gone about performing routine tasks: turning on the faucet for a drink of water, brushing their teeth, even setting out water for pets.

A catastrophic break in a pipe bringing water from Weston to dozens of cities and towns to the east meant residents must contend with untreated water from backup reservoirs for at least several days, perhaps a week, said Ria Convery, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority.

Doctors were ordered to use bottled water to scrub up before surgery. Restaurants stopped serving tap water and ice.

What a mess.

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 07:06 AM
Wow all the money spent on the "war on terror" could have went to that. could have went to a lot of stuff. I`ve said it before and I`ll say it again: this country is being taken apart from the inside. It`s fall resembles the collapse of the towers on 9/11, "just like a controlled demolition". First they are sucking all the money out that they can. They want us helpless. Oh well at least we will be forced to speak to eachother again in order to survive. Nobody ever talks to their neighbors anymore. A lot of people hardly contact their own families anymore.

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posted on May, 2 2010 @ 07:15 AM
This is good for the environment, sending clean purified water back into the ecosystem.

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 07:21 AM

Originally posted by endisnighe
The whole problem of construction in this country is the bureucratic red tape and the government's role in the construction. It has always been the government's delay tactics and their inability to make decisions. Also, the energy companies, that are regulated by the government so much they may as well be the government, are another huge component of the problems.

Quite right, my friend.
Notice, they said this:

After years of detailed inspections, construction began in July

This is only going to get worse because of the increase in governmental meddling. The government gets bigger, the more people involved in the sign offs, the delays get longer...

I'm just wondering if they've started plans for a backup to the backup (now the primary).

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 07:23 AM
reply to post by loam

Without wanting to sound off topic or alarmist, let's hope Boston's Biological Weapon testing lab is OK - it's wouldn't be the first time officials have covered things up:

Jonathan King, Professor of Molecular Biology at MIT, discusses outbreak of biological weapons agent:

Boston, Biological Weapons and the New Arms Race.

[edit on 02/10/08 by karl 12]

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 07:27 AM
This should serve as a slap in the face to everyone. A SHTF situation does not always have to be about 2012.

Couple this massive problem with a heavy Spring thunderstorm and a power outage and you have one hell of an actual situation on your hands. How many people are using electric stoves to boil their water.

Be prepared for anything. The aging infrastructure of our nation will be our biggest downfall. Where I live, water mains can be as old as 100 years and the bridges are not much better.

It's estimated that the cost of updating the nation's infrastructure would be $1.6 trillion. That's about $5,300 for every American and plenty of jobs created.

Think about the potential of $2.3 trillion for the cost of HCR from 2014 to 2024. Most of that going to pay the bloated salaries of govt. bureaucrats. Nearly Twice the cost of rebuilding our nations infrastructure.

Priorities priorities....
edit to add:
The special inspector general appointed to oversee the bailout package, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), said that the $700 billion does not include the additional financing and associated programs run by the Federal Reserve and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Once it is all added together, the $700 billion sum balloons to $2.9 trillion in taxpayer commitments.

[edit on 2-5-2010 by jibeho]

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 07:28 AM
This will turn out to be a scandal, I believe:

Officials also said they did not know what caused the relatively new seven-year-old steel pipe to break 20 feet underground, near Recreation Road by the intersection of the Massachusetts Turnpike and Route 128.

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 07:38 AM
This is a good sign, at least, maybe it'll only last through Monday.

While declaring, "I don't want to jinx it," Laskey said he hoped the part could be installed by Monday morning and then water pressure and water quality tests could be conducted "to make sure we can get the system back on and running."

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 07:51 AM
Shovel ready ring a bell? Create jobs ring a bell? How about billions of dollars spent on laying sidewalks in communities that don't want them, or on pig manure studies? Or all of the other ridiculous pork that went into all of the stimulus bills?

This pipe and many others could have been fixed 100 times over with the wasted money that went to pet projects, but instead, it was more important to line the pickpocketers pockets and buy their votes.

Now, when it comes time for a real need for the money, and a real way to create jobs, it will be delayed and caught in red tape and beaurocratic BS for how long?

I am not even talking about the money that went to the banks, I am talking about the thousands of earmarks people got to buy votes for one bill or another.

Perhaps you could look into where your town/city/state may have gotten some stimulus funds, and write a letter demanding the pork project be halted and the money used for something real?

Here, I even did a little leg work for you and found a few projects they could halt to fix the problem, and put a lot of people in your community to work!

Ferry project in Lynn among stimulus winners
By John Laidler
Globe Correspondent / March 5, 2009

Lynn has been awarded $4 million from the federal stimulus package to help fund the development of a commuter ferry terminal, part of an initial round of state projects to land pieces of sweeping legislation aimed at boosting the economy.

The terminal was among projects allotted about $330 million in federal stimulus money last week by the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization, the agency that allocates federal transportation dollars for 101 Boston-area communities.

Federal help, meanwhile, may be on its way via another route. The Senate this week was poised to act on a $410 billion omnibus spending plan approved by the House of Representatives last week. The bill includes earmarks for local projects.

Cowdell said that with $750,000 from the Massachusetts Seaport Advisory Council

Meanwhile, the Cape Ann Transportation Authority shared in about $200 million in mass transit money

The transportation authority, which provides bus and van service in Cape Ann, will get $430,710

The Boston Region MPO also allotted $37 million for MBTA projects

The funding proposals included $4 million to expand a park-and-ride lot

In all, the state's 10 MPOs will be awarding $437 million from the stimulus bill for highway projects and $300 million for mass transit projects

Projects being funded now must be ready to be advertised within 120 days. A second round will be held to award the remaining money. The state also may be allotted additional federal funds to distribute if all the funds available nationally are not spent.

Other stimulus funds in areas ranging from housing to education will be sent to the state and in some cases directly to communities through existing formulas and competitive grant programs.

Among the earmarks in the omnibus budget bill before Congress are $783,750 for train station improvements

There is also $601,000 for the dredging of the entrance to Newburyport Harbor, $95,000 of which could be used to dredge the south jetty area

Other Tierney earmarks include $476,000 to enable the Forsyth Institute in Lynn to expand its efforts to provide dental care to low-income people and $237,500 for the Girls Inc. of Lynn's building project.

US Representative Edward J. Markey teamed with Kennedy and Kerry to secure a $950,000 earmark for improvements to the MBTA's Wonderland Station in Revere

Other Markey earmarks include $261,250 for streetscape improvements and $500,000 for a lead pipe replacement program, both in Malden.

Another earmark, secured by US Representative Michael Capuano, would provide $855,000 for a parking garage in Chelsea that would be linked to bus and commuter rail lines

US Representative Niki Tsongas was able to get a $475,000 earmark to help fund a new Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority garage in Haverhill; $200,000 to fund an upgrade of Haverhill's public safety communications system; and $237,875 for a project to make the Haverhill Citizens Center more energy-efficient.

Kerry and Kennedy also teamed to include $285,000 for downtown streetscape improvements in Haverhill in the bill

Good giggly wiggly you guys in Boston sure got a LOT of money?! WTF? What "economy the way it is"?!

Someone grab a calculator and add that up! Holy smokes!

I am not even trying to be funny here, do you guys see that? Just ... wow.

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 08:00 AM
Wow, am I even more shocked! You guys got even *more* funds from the healthcare votes!

I would be sure to print that message out and gather some thirsty neighbours and march right down and known on my representatives door first thing Monday morning!

I would make *sure* they heard my message loud and clear, "Fix my water!"

Edited for error

[edit on 2-5-2010 by Libertygal]

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 08:08 AM

Originally posted by muzzleflash
It's nuts lol.

Seems like civilization is just breaking down all around us.

Maybe we need more repair workers to cover all of our infrastructure.

I guess they are right when they say "America is crumbling".

We need to devote some major resources to going over everything and fixing anything that is falling into disrepair.

As you can see from this event, the situation can affect everyone and it can literally change our lives drastically.

These issues need to be resolved immediately.

Yeah, wull, they are so busy robbing the country blind and all stimulus money going over seas ... we can't afford to support the low lifes , the elites and politicians AND fix infrastructure ...

Remember ... Who can run a country on $1.5 BILLION just in DAILY gas tax revenue ....

I mean come on now... be realistic.

It must cost at least $1.5 billion a day to run America.

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 09:13 AM
I am in Boston and this is no big deal. It is a minor inconvenience at most. I will simply filter my water and give it a 90 second dose of UV and then I can drink all I want.

Sadly most Americans waste a great deal of water on a regular basis. How many of you leave the water running when you brush your teeth? Is it because you like the sound of the water running or that you are simply too lazy and wasteful to turn it off?

posted on May, 2 2010 @ 09:37 AM
Beat me by a few hours, see what I get for sleeping in, and I even hit up the search too. From the thread I started:

Now in this case, the break occurred in section of pipe that was only 7 years old. But for the majority of major cities, critical infrastructure such as fresh water supplies and wastewater such as rainwater and sewage quietly sit in unknown conditions. The respective city officials hope that the systems hold.

One of the problems facing modern society in cities and metropolises in the US today is that some of our infrastructure is really no more advanced than the Roman Aqueducts in design. In St. Louis, rainwater from the street's gutters mix with raw sewage from homes in large underground concrete pipes. Some large enough to drive a Jeep through, and yet others barely large enough to float a camcorder in a bag.

In some cities and smaller towns, natural gas lines, electrical cables, telephone lines and water pipes share space in concrete tunnels large enough for inspectors to walk through to do their jobs. Yet budget restraints, don't have the funding for the inspectors to inspect the lines as they should.

The vital infrastructure in this country is a ticking time bomb for a great many people that are unaware. The boil advisories, the brownouts and blackouts that do occur are looked upon as "just a minor inconvenience". But for the nearly 2 million people around Boston, this could have gone on for weeks to a month of no fresh drinking water.

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