The Water Crisis – A potentially costly lesson for all of us

May 8, 2010
By

The great water crisis of 2010 has passed, and with it, the understanding that Greater Bostonians for all our bluster and modern might, had no clean water – about two million of us in all – from Saturday to Tuesday morning.

When the pipe burst in Weston on Saturday and the water system was shut down, the event sent shockwaves through 30 communities and came to paralyze all of us with the fear that if something as simple as a pipe rupturing could endanger two million people, what if something really bad happened?

In fact, it was only with the swift and bold emergency actions taken by our leading public officials that averted a disaster of the greatest proportion.

Governor Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas Menino virtually and physically led the way in providing tried and true leadership.

Here in Revere, there were no reverse 911 calls made to the public – a rather difficult omission for public officials here to overlook.

To his credit, Acting Mayor Anthony Zambuto attempted to fill the void by calling various health and public safety officials and acting as the go to man.

Early first efforts at informing the vast public of the problem were coordinated well and in a matter of a few hours throughout the state, the public was informed – almost to a person. This by itself is an amazing feat.

At risk was public health and the well being of all residents using MWRA water and at risk as well was the general economy which is almost entirely dependent on clean water to function.

The closure of Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks by themselves was an indication of just how greatly affected the local business community would be as a result of the water shutdown.

So the governor and the mayor worked together.

The mayor told us it was the best example he had seen in his more than 16 years in office of the state sharing resources and problem solving with the city.

Now comes the harder part of the equation, finding out what exactly caused the rupture and the near shutdown of so many parts of the economy among such a wide swath of population living in and around Boston.

As the chairman of the senate committee on the environment, natural resources and agriculture, Senator Anthony Petruccelli is already asking for an investigation as soon as possible, as well he should.

Senator Petruccelli wants to know – as all of Massachusetts wants to know – whether the pipe that burst was installed incorrectly by contractors or was due to the defective manufacture of the pipe and its fittings.

There really aren’t too many other possibilities but the senator has promised to hold hearings in order to resolve the issue so that it doesn’t happen again.

And that’s the most important point for all of us to agree on.

Here we are in the tenth year of the 21st Century and we were almost brought to our knees as a people and as an economy by a ten-foot water delivery pipe being shut down in Weston.

We urge Senator Petruccelli to begin his investigation as soon as possible.

Only good will come of it.

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