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Water Piping Repairs 'Holding Great,' Says MWRA Director01:51
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MWRA officials pumped water back into the Chestnut Hill Reservoir on Monday. Over the past few days, the reservoir has served as one of the area's emergency water sources, though its water is not safe for drinking. (Gabrielle Levy for WBUR)
MWRA officials pumped water back into the Chestnut Hill Reservoir on Monday. Over the past few days, the reservoir has served as one of the area's emergency water sources, though its water is not safe for drinking. (Gabrielle Levy for WBUR)

Greater Boston's drinking water supply is nearing a return to normalcy after crews successfully repaired and stress-tested the 10-foot wide water pipe that broke on Saturday.

Fred Laskey, executive director of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, told WBUR Monday that repairs have thus far gone well.

"It's holding great," he said. "We finished the weld before sunrise, we did a pressure test, and now the water's flowing east at the maximum rate."

Laskey indicated that the repaired piping has been subject to numerous inspections, and that the delivery system is currently purging itself as water again heads to the metropolitan area.

Before the boil water order can be lifted, however, state officials must test the water quality. Laskey says they are being extra-cautious and will orchestrate hundreds of test samples before recommending that the boil order be lifted.

"People take for granted the quality of the drinking water," Laskey said. "But it's an awesome responsibility to make sure that it's safe to drink."

State officials started testing water samples on Sunday. Samples require 24 hours to incubate in the lab, so Laskey said they should start receiving some test results Monday afternoon.

With the delivery system repaired and the end of the water crisis nearing, Laskey expressed gratitude for the emergency contractor and the slew of engineers, and for Massachusetts leaders for clearing "all the bureaucratic hurdles."

He also admits he believed the situation would be worse than it has turned out. "We were afraid it was gonna be weeks and it's 36 hours and the water's flowing," Laskey said.

And while the boil order is still in effect, Laskey says he isn't thinking about what happened with the system's breach, or why. He said the focus now is to stabilize water quality, and then begin an investigation.

"We haven't spent much time worrying about why," he said. "We figured every minute that we're trying to figure out why was a minute wasted against the effort of getting it fixed."

This program aired on May 3, 2010.

Monica Brady-Myerov Twitter Reporter
Monica Brady-Myerov was formerly a report in WBUR's newsroom.

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