Water Main Break Leaves 2 Million Parched
Massachusetts governor declares state of emergency
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2010 2:00 PM CDT
Gov. Deval Patrick (fourth from left) visits a tunnel at the site of a water main break in Weston, Mass., Sunday, May 2, 2010. The pipe feeds into the pipe that failed, creating a state of emergency.   (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
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(Newser) – Tap water in most of eastern Massachusetts is unsafe to drink following a water main break yesterday in a suburb west of Boston. Some 2 million residents must boil water for at least 1 minute before drinking it, making baby formula, or brushing their teeth, a situation one official described to the Globe as "everyone’s worst nightmare in the water industry."

The outage, caused when a 7-year-old pipe ruptured, created a run on bottled water after the water authority switched to its backup system, which uses what another official called "untreated pond water." The governor said today the situation is less dire than originally feared, describing restoration of a safe drinking water supply as a matter of "days not weeks."