By Kristina Rex


WINCHESTER (CBS) – Millions of gallons of water were lost after a construction crew hit a water main in Winchester Friday. The incident has affected the water supply to six towns and more than 100,000 people north of Boston.

Construction crews were preparing to replace the pipe and were digging to find out just how deep it was when someone accidentally drilled a hole right through the top of the 48-inch-wide water main.

“So it was a hectic day. We apologize to those folks who are inconvenienced,” said Fred Laskey, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Water Resource Association.

A water main broke in Stoneham. (WBZ-TV)

Crews rerouted the water supply so people in Winchester, Wakefield, Woburn, Wilmington, Stoneham, and Reading could still drink and shower. They say it will take several days to fix and in the meantime, people could have reduced pressure or brown, rusty water.

“Can you drink it? Should you drink it? From a health point of view, it’s technically safe to drink,” Laskey said. “However, we don’t encourage that. We encourage you to run your tap, get it to the clean water.”

Hole drilled in top of water main in Winchester (WBZ-TV)

Some neighbors haven’t noticed any difference. “It’s not like we’re in the middle of a drought,” Reve Drapeau said. “We’re not Southern California. It’ll be fine.”

However, the issue is affecting some businesses.

“Definitely would affect us,” said Ari Hado, manager of Pizza Mia. “We use a lot of water in our prep. Washing salads, cooking pasta, so it definitely would affect us.”

So far the pressure has gone down only slightly and for safety reasons, the MWRA is making sure firefighters have enough pressure coming through the hydrants.

“I’m going on what they’re telling me, and right now they ensure me that everything is working fine,” said Winchester Fire Capt. John Surabian.

While crews fix the pipe and get things back to normal, they also have to figure out what went wrong.

“Accidents do happen, and obviously this was an accident. Nobody intentionally did it, we’re trying to see what happened,” Laskey said. “We don’t know at this point.”

Kristina Rex

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