MWRA Breaks Water Mains

So I wasnt going to blog this, but what i just found out is so incredible, I feel like people ought to hear about it.

So I woke up this morning at about quarter of 6. Or to be more accurate, my nearly two year old son woke me up. I went to the bathroom before getting him and noticed that the toilet didn’t refill after I flushed. I was immediately concerned that we’d burst a pipe, so I rushed down into the basement, but everything was dry. I went outside to fine a National Grid van sitting there. There were two breaks in the street outside my house, with water seeping through onto the street. I asked the guy from National Grid what was going on, and he said there was a water main break. I inferred he was there to paint lines letting the water workers know where the gas lines were. Shortly after he left, town officials showed up, and started digging.

None of this seemed that crazy. Belmont is an old town, and the part of town in which I live was built in the 1920’s, so the idea of an old water min breaking wasn’t too hard to believe.

Later, driving through Belmont, we noticed workers digging in Belmont town center as well. It seemed off that two water mains broke, but I shrugged it off. At some point later, my wife went out to ask the workers when they thought they’d be done, and they said they thought they’d have the water back on within the hour. That was shortly after lunch, so all in all it didn’t seem so bad.

So I take the boy and the dog out on a long walk, and come home and the town crew is now working about a half block down the street, and the water is still not on. This is at about 4:30 or so. So I go down and ask what’s up. What he tells me is shocking.

Apparently the MWRA has a water pressure spike of 20%!!! This spike has caused blow outs all over the place. He thought there were like three or four on my street alone. I asked him how many people were without water, and he said he worked for a private co tractor and wasn’t sure. But he had no idea as to when they’d be done with repairs. He said they were literally fabricating parts for the water mains as they went, because these pipes were so old nobody made parts for them any more. Sounded like a real cluster fuck.

So naturally I go to to read something on the story, and couldn’t find a thing. The MWRA website showed nothing, their “important notices” section read “no important notices at this time”.

Well, it seems to be that a 20% spike warrants some investigation. I can’t imagine many pipes having tolerances that can withstand such pipes. The MWRA governs most of metro Boston water. I would imagine that there are old pipes blown allover the place. Somebody ought to be held to account for this. It’s one thing to lose clean water, as we did when the main in Weston broke. But to lose all water means you can’t flush toilets. Think about that inconvenience for 5 minutes.

If anybody knows anything more, leave a comment. I’ll be following up on this with my state rep.

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