just trying to get the word out to as many as possible
May 1, 2010 3:24 PM   Subscribe

Boston water emergency: millions affected by break in aqueduct and ordered to boil water before drinking.
posted by cubby (111 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
No love for dirty water?
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:29 PM on May 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


Arlington
Belmont
Boston
Brookline
Canton
Chelsea
Everett
Lexington
Lynnfield Water District
Malden
Marblehead
Medford
Melrose
Milton
Nahant
Newton
Norwood
Quincy
Reading
Revere
Saugus
Somerville
Stoneham
Stoughton
Swampscott
Wakefield
Waltham
Watertown
Wilmington
Winchester
Winthrop
posted by sciencegeek at 3:30 PM on May 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm boiling a big pot right now. Like I'm in an adobe hut in rural Central America. Awesome!
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:30 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm peeved that Cambridge isn't affected. Metafilter meetup at Fresh Pond so we can all whizz through the fence into the reservoir! Women will need to bring a coffee can or something.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:33 PM on May 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I just found out about this in the grocery store when I saw people filling their carts with cases of water in a kind of pre-apocalypse frenzy. I asked the old guy in line in front of me about it and he said it was a busted pipe somewhere. His advice was to drink liquor instead.
posted by Marit at 3:37 PM on May 1, 2010 [31 favorites]


This FPP belongs on WataFilter.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:38 PM on May 1, 2010 [13 favorites]


Dirty water will give you +10 HP but sometimes the Rads aren't worth the trouble.

In reality, this sucks. This seems to happen once every year around here and I can tell you I always seem to find out about boil advisories after having used tap all day for various things. I'm still alive, but I've grown several extra limbs. More useful than you can imagine.
posted by deacon_blues at 3:40 PM on May 1, 2010 [14 favorites]


I came away from the boston.com story annoyed that they had not bothered to list the places affected, to find sciencegeek's list. Thank you, sciencegeek.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:45 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I assume that because the Boston Bruins beat the Flyers in overtime that most Bostonians are drinking beer anyway.
posted by vapidave at 3:48 PM on May 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


And a backhanded, halfhearted, passive-aggressive thanks to boston.com for putting the list in a separate column.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:48 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter meetup at Fresh Pond so we can all whizz through the fence into the reservoir!

Curiously enough, that's what the residents of Western Mass have been doing to the Quabbin for years. Or at least that's what they say they're gonna do after having a few drinks and discussing the Big Dig. The aqueduct (more like aquefuct am I rite) has been riddled with leaks almost as long as it's been in service, so maybe Boston can pretend it all leaks out before it gets to them.

The aqueduct is currently leaking 8 million gallons an hour, though. Catastrophic is a freakin understatement and I hope the repairs come quickly. Ideally there's like one team of water main repair people who have been waiting their whole life for just such an incident, and are flying to the rescue with giddy anticipation and big grins.

In the meantime, break out the beer.
posted by Spatch at 3:48 PM on May 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


Christ, what a masshole.
posted by loquacious at 3:50 PM on May 1, 2010 [18 favorites]


As a Western MA native, I always get a bit tetchy when the subject of Quabbin comes up. First they flood towns, then they decide that they don't get enough water from it and then they start talking about diverting the Connecticut river.

Being from the less populated part of a state makes you tetchy. Anyone from upstate NY want to chime in?
posted by sciencegeek at 3:51 PM on May 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


1) Fill pot with water
2) Boil water
3) Add lobster
4) Eat lobster
5) Drink water
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:52 PM on May 1, 2010 [21 favorites]


I saw people filling their carts with cases of water in a kind of pre-apocalypse frenzy

There was a boil-water-emergency here in Vancouver about 4 years ago, after all the wind storms tore up Stanley Park and cause mudslides into the rivers that lead to our taps. The whole thing was a little overblown but I remember one morning the front page of all the papers featured stories about people fighting over cases of bottled water, soccer moms slugging it out in Costco parking lots, etc. etc. I went and sat in a Costco parking lot for two hours the next day primed for entertainment, but nothing happened. Alas!
posted by mannequito at 3:52 PM on May 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Don't drink the water, fish fuck in it.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 3:56 PM on May 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Baby Zizzle had eaten a huge cup of yogurt. About 1/4th of that cup ended up on his person in various levels of thickness. I said, "Well, looks like you'll be getting a bath." And then a minute later I decided it'd be easier to wipe him down with baby wipes even if it left him sticky. Then I got a call from an 800 number about boiling water for drinking and not using the tap water to bathe infants and children.

What timing!
posted by zizzle at 3:58 PM on May 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is this part of The Pattern I keep hearing about?
posted by salsamander at 3:58 PM on May 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh hey, more crumbling infrastructure. Thank you Ronald Reagan for bringing this country 30 years of deferred maintenance.
posted by ambrosia at 4:01 PM on May 1, 2010 [17 favorites]


Wait...people here drink WATER? (Who knew?)
posted by ThusSpakeZarathustra at 4:04 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


So where does Cambridge get it's water from if everywhere around it is affected?
Do you think it was left off the list by mistake?
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 4:05 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, Cambridge sources its own water from Fresh Pond and some from the Middlesex Fells.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:07 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cambridge has its own reservoir and does not get its drinking water from the MWRA.

My town is on the list, but only connects to MWRA for emergency sewer runoff and such; water comes from municipal wells.
posted by briank at 4:07 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cambridge gets it's water from Fresh Pond apparently. Who knew?

In other news, it is now Pizza and bottled drinks night.
posted by contrarian at 4:10 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I found out about this basically the same way as Marit, only with bonus film crew outside the grocery store.
posted by Adridne at 4:11 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thank you Ronald Reagan for bringing this country 30 years of deferred maintenance.

Um:
MWRA officials built the MetroWest Tunnel seven years ago. ... and a series of connector pipes were built – much like the one that failed
It's unclear whether the one that failed was one of those connectors built seven years ago, but if it is, Reagan's off the hook for this one.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:12 PM on May 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can we please elect Sarah Palin so that we can blame her for everything that goes wrong?
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:16 PM on May 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Will this hurt or improve the taste? I still remember the intensely organic mulchy flavor the Boston tapwater got a few times a year. I imagined it was a seasonal event where all the gunk in the reservoirs was stirred up.
posted by zippy at 4:18 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Women will need to bring a coffee can or something.

Or not. (Probably SFW.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:19 PM on May 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's unclear whether the one that failed was one of those connectors built seven years ago, but if it is, Reagan's off the hook for this one.

I dunno about that. The entirety of that quote makes it clear that this tunnel was in use only because the primary system fell apart:

"A far older aqueduct built in the 1940s – the Hultman - that carried water on the last leg of its journey to Greater Boston – was so riddled with leaks MWRA officials built the MetroWest Tunnel seven years ago. The Hultman was then shut off to repair the leaks and a series of connector pipes were built – much like the one that failed – to ensure clean water gets to the City Tunnel and then to faucets. Now, Laskey said, "we thought we could rely on this connector during that rehabilitation. It is Murphy’s Law."

If the aqueduct had been properly maintained in the first place, this mess might have been avoided.
posted by vorfeed at 4:20 PM on May 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just back from the grocery store, where the shelves were cleared out and people hovered like vultures over the guy bringing cases of sparkling water out from the back. No fistfights, but I was hoping.

My plan is just to set up a still and recoup the expense by making moonshine. Or just to boil some water, but where's the fun in that?
posted by Dr.Enormous at 4:24 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


A couple hours after I heard about this on the radio, the robocall came through from the city of Somerville, with a helpful reminder to let the boiled water cool down "before consuming".
I don't want to be snarky, because I like the city's robocall system, but I found that kind of amusing.

I sure hope this doesn't last more than a day or two...
posted by uosuaq at 4:26 PM on May 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't drink the water, fish fuck in it.

I was just a kid, a graduate student. Fresh pond seemed like a creative fourth-date idea. I wonder where she is now. I treasure the memories of that ... wonderful time ... at Fresh Pond.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:32 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Beware the lettuce!
posted by R. Mutt at 4:35 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Clearly, this is now what it means to be an American.

Looking forward reluctantly to the shitstorms and garbageslides.
posted by markkraft at 4:36 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is why everyone should have at least two weeks worth of drinking water set aside. Even a couple of those five-gallon jugs is enough for one person, and you can fill them for free or cheap, from the tap or a water machine. If services are disrupted, you can't count on being able to buy bottled water, so plan ahead!
posted by vorfeed at 4:41 PM on May 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I live here because I like the general leftist atmosphere, but I'm regretting the Soviet-style infrastructure right now. 15 billion dollars to help suburbanites drive their polluted asses into the city center, and people in fucking Tashkent have better access to clean water than I do as I type this.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:56 PM on May 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


So just to be clear about the tally this week -

Boston has no water.
The Gulf of Mexico now one giant burning oil slick.
Arizona is run by the gestapo.

Did I miss anything?
posted by Lord_Pall at 4:57 PM on May 1, 2010 [48 favorites]


Psst, post tagger, it's "Massachusetts".
posted by Spatch at 5:00 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Between the entire downtown subway system filling up with smoke and this water main thing, Boston is really having a great week for infrastructure, isn't it?
posted by heyforfour at 5:08 PM on May 1, 2010


Technically, aqueducts are Roman-style infrastructure.
posted by uosuaq at 5:08 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


So just to be clear about the tally this week -
Boston has no water.
The Gulf of Mexico now one giant burning oil slick.
Arizona is run by the gestapo.
Did I miss anything?


Think of it like choices of shampoo: dry, oily and unmanageable.
posted by hal9k at 5:08 PM on May 1, 2010 [33 favorites]


Fun. We just had this happen for a week here a few weeks ago. When this happens, you VERY quickly learn to appreciate how much you take potable water for granted when you reach for the tap and then realize you need to pour a pot, boil it, let it cool and then (optionally, I guess) run it through the Brita Filter.
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:10 PM on May 1, 2010


uosuaq: "Technically, aqueducts are Roman-style infrastructure."

The Vijayanagara would like a word with you. Romans were famous for building aqueducts, but did not invent them.

Good luck, Mayor Curley!
posted by boo_radley at 5:10 PM on May 1, 2010


Local newspaper stories are now best of the web?
posted by fire&wings at 5:14 PM on May 1, 2010


I don't drink water anyway - have you seen what it does to pipes?
posted by turgid dahlia at 5:19 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can we please elect Sarah Palin so that we can blame her for everything that goes wrong?

I've been waxing nostalgic about that feeling during the Bush II years when I seemed if we just got that frat boy and his evil sidekick out of the WH things would go back to being relatively cool. Plus, he was so good for laughs.

Now, it just seems sort of irreparably tragic.

(Hang in there, Mass. peeps)
posted by angrycat at 5:21 PM on May 1, 2010


It may be sabotage. Boston Police are seeking a person of interest.
posted by Mister_A at 5:22 PM on May 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ideally there's like one team of water main repair people who have been waiting their whole life for just such an incident, and are flying to the rescue with giddy anticipation and big grins.

The eventual movie is obviously all Jim Cameron's to make. I picture a lot of pipes leaking right into the camera in glorious 3-D.

The occasional boil order was a fact of life growing up in northeastern MA. The memories...
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 5:24 PM on May 1, 2010


A couple hours after I heard about this on the radio, the robocall came through from the city of Somerville, with a helpful reminder to let the boiled water cool down "before consuming".
I don't want to be snarky, because I like the city's robocall system, but I found that kind of amusing.


People in Beijing would scoff at that advice. Everyone there has a big Thermos bottle that they fill with boiling water and drink from throughout the day. My wife still prefers just-boiled water, after more than 10 years in the US. I'm not sure if it's making a virtue of necessity (the Beijing water is not potable unless boiled and bottled water is risky), but she says cold drinks are unhealthy.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:24 PM on May 1, 2010


posted by Lord_Pall So just to be clear about the tally this week -
Boston has no water.
The Gulf of Mexico now one giant burning oil slick.
Arizona is run by the gestapo.

Did I miss anything?


Whitey's on the moon.
posted by mattdidthat at 5:25 PM on May 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


Local newspaper stories are now best of the web?
posted by fire&wings


I have to admit, it's no paper coffee cup, but over a million people having to boil their water seems like a big deal.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:28 PM on May 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


Walking to Davis Square just now from the Harvard Bridge, it seemed suspicious to me that Boston and Somerville are under advisory but Cambridge is not.
posted by danb at 5:36 PM on May 1, 2010


danb -- I think it was mentioned above, but Cambridge gets its water from the Fresh Pond reservoir. If (God forbid) this is still going on by Monday, I'm definitely going to fill up some bottles at work.
posted by uosuaq at 5:42 PM on May 1, 2010


Get used to this sort of thing.

We've had thirty years of people pretending to govern while outsourcing everything to their cronies who do nothing. We're going to see a lot more of this.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:46 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


People flocked to stores to buy bottled water when they heard the news.
I think of infrastructure emergencies like large-scale power and water outages being sort of novel and adventurous, sort of like camping. At least for the first couple days.

Now I guess those sorts of outages are shopping adventures instead. Honestly, isn't it both cheaper and more convenient to put a pot on the stove than it is to drive to the store?
posted by Western Infidels at 5:50 PM on May 1, 2010


I'm peeved that Cambridge isn't affected.

Q: Wassa-matta-u?
A: Watta-Massa-U.
posted by hal9k at 6:11 PM on May 1, 2010


Out here in the sticks! I have "bottled" water for free for MAMeFites, but you have to (a) come out here to get it and (b) maybe help with the weeding for a minute. And no fistfights, unless we get bored.
posted by theredpen at 6:13 PM on May 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


Huh, I thought they had decommissioned Chestnut Hill reservoir permanently a few years back when they turned the pump facilities into condos. Interesting that they've put it back online; first time since the 1960s that they've pulled any water from it.
posted by killdevil at 6:37 PM on May 1, 2010


And no fistfights, unless we get bored.

New guy moves to Western Massachusetts. His neighbor, a stout old woodsman, comes over that evening to say hello.

-- Hi neighbor, welcome to town! You know, there's a party at my place tonight, why don't you come over?
-- Really? That sounds awfully nice.
-- Yep, there's gonna be a whole lotta drinkin, a whole lotta cussin, a whole lotta fightin, and a whole lotta screwin!
-- Really? Wow, I had no idea. Well, it sounds amazing! What should I bring?
-- Don't matter, really. It's just you and me.

posted by zippy at 6:38 PM on May 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is it just me or does "Boil Alert" sound like the title of a 70's funk/disco hit?
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 6:40 PM on May 1, 2010


I'm Somerville, myself. My current solution is to drink my housemate's Turkish Coffee Stout (oh boy, did he make something delicious there). Also CBC has a lovely English-style ale with the name of *something* Knees, which is also pretty tasty.

I'm not sure about the bathing, though. Hard to do that in beer.
posted by nat at 6:42 PM on May 1, 2010


Boil Alert!
posted by Balisong at 6:44 PM on May 1, 2010


nat: the MWRA has said the water is safe for "bathing, flushing and fire protection." (Jeez, I wonder how bad the water has to get before it's no longer safe for fire protection!)
posted by danb at 6:47 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I suppose once it's possible to set the water itself on fire, it is no longer safe for fire protection...
posted by nat at 6:54 PM on May 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


"nat: the MWRA has said the water is safe for "bathing, flushing and fire protection." (Jeez, I wonder how bad the water has to get before it's no longer safe for fire protection)"

About this bad.
posted by selfnoise at 6:55 PM on May 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, you guys. What's a little cryptosporidiosis among friends?
posted by killdevil at 6:55 PM on May 1, 2010


Nat, as a homebrewer, I think I need your roomie's recipe. Just to see if it's safe for you to drink. You may need to send me a bottle so that I can run some tests.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:56 PM on May 1, 2010


I suppose once it's possible to set the water itself on fire, it is no longer safe for fire protection...

...so as long as they're not getting it from the Gulf, it'll be fine.
posted by vorfeed at 6:56 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


This was a rather alarming story to read right after I downed a glass of Brita-ed tap water. Thanks to the folks who explained about Fresh Pond so I didn't freak out thinking Cambridge was left off as a mistake. Just remember not to brush your teeth with this stuff, folks, and you're all welcome to fill up a jug at my place.
posted by Diagonalize at 6:56 PM on May 1, 2010


nat: the MWRA has said the water is safe for "bathing, flushing and fire protection." (Jeez, I wonder how bad the water has to get before it's no longer safe for fire protection!)

Sadly, Louisiana might know a little something about that.
posted by metagnathous at 7:06 PM on May 1, 2010


Heh. I put off my homebrew day until tomorrow. Here in Salem, we're unaffected, so I scoffed when I got the robo-call left over from out days in Somerville - until I realized that I use water jugs rather than tap for my beer and had yet to buy any.

So we ran out to the local grocery store before all those folks in Marblehead and Swampscott started to get desperate and steal our precious fluids.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:15 PM on May 1, 2010


Don't drink the water, fish fuck in it.

Wrong.

Fish make love in water.
posted by Auden at 7:18 PM on May 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hmm, I think I just heard my roommate put away some freshly washed dishes...
posted by danb at 7:20 PM on May 1, 2010


Man, it must suck to be a water engineer. Almost everywhere in the country, you turn on a tap and safe water shows up like magic..... it works so well that people completely take it for granted, and only notice you when it breaks.

Hope they get your pipe fixed quickly, folks.
posted by Malor at 7:30 PM on May 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Celtics suck!
posted by Kwine at 7:49 PM on May 1, 2010


If you visit American city, you will find it very pretty, just two things of which you must beware, don't drink the water and don't breathe the air...
posted by Melismata at 7:53 PM on May 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


the bad news is that a huge pipe was busted in the process - the good news is that charlie finally got off of that damn train
posted by pyramid termite at 8:29 PM on May 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Fish make love in water.

Whoa, there. Have you ever seen the mating practices of most fish? It's not like they put on a Barry White album and savor the moment or anything.

I'm not even sure if I'd call it fucking, either. Spawning is probably fairly accurate.

Milt. Milt. Milt.

I don't like swimming in milt.
posted by loquacious at 9:13 PM on May 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Jeez, I wonder how bad the water has to get before it's no longer safe for fire protection

"There have reportedly been at least thirteen fires on the Cuyahoga River, the first occurring in 1868. The largest river fire in 1952 caused over $1 million in damage to boats and a riverfront office building."

Just to make clear: it was the river itself that was burning.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:34 PM on May 1, 2010


Clevelanders found a solution.
posted by kiltedtaco at 9:41 PM on May 1, 2010


So if I'm reading you guys correctly the consensus on how bad the water has to get before it's no longer safe for fire protection is "pretty bad"
posted by danb at 9:53 PM on May 1, 2010


There's a red moon rising on the Cuyahoga River...
posted by pracowity at 11:10 PM on May 1, 2010


Man, it must suck to be a water engineer. Almost everywhere in the country, you turn on a tap and safe water shows up like magic..... it works so well that people completely take it for granted, and only notice you when it breaks.

This miracle -- of being able to drink the water straight from the tap -- is one of the things that I miss and admire most about the States right now, from my perspective overseas. The wealthy folks in my current location have expensive water filters attached to their taps, so -- when they actually can GET water from the taps -- they can purify it for drinking. But I'm renting a flat without this amenity, and the other night, after a couple of glasses of wine, I found myself at midnight with a fierce thirst and no drinking water to speak of for the next nine hours. I started eyeing the tap, weighing cautions about the heavy metals in the water (which boiling cannot remove) against my tremendous thirst.

It was a miserable night. I've got a new 20L bottle of water sitting on my counter right now, and when I pass by, I give it an admiring pat.
posted by artemisia at 12:04 AM on May 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


In NYC, 3-foot water main breaks are pretty bad. This is supposedly a 10-foot diameter pipe. I am having trouble even imagining how bad this leak must be, at 10x the size.
posted by bashos_frog at 3:03 AM on May 2, 2010


How much water do we consume in a day that needs to be boiled? A pint or a quart each? How foul is the water coming out of the tap in the affected areas likely to be anyway? Has anyone tested the water coming out of their tap? I'm making a trip to my local REI to pick up a water filter kit. End of story. At least we can flush our toilets. Now THAT would be a problem.
posted by birdwatcher at 3:21 AM on May 2, 2010


@birdwatcher Unless that "water filter kit" has some new miracle filter that removes bacteria-sized pathogens, you're going to want to boil your water before drinking it.
posted by e.e. coli at 4:30 AM on May 2, 2010


Oh, never mind. They *do* sell such things. They didn't exist when I last went camping (during my cretaceous era).
posted by e.e. coli at 4:33 AM on May 2, 2010


Better advice: boil, then cool, water before drinking.
posted by .kobayashi. at 5:22 AM on May 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


In NYC, 3-foot water main breaks are pretty bad. This is supposedly a 10-foot diameter pipe. I am having trouble even imagining how bad this leak must be, at 10x the size.
The math police hereby give bashos_frog a commendation for geometry awareness. Well done sir!
posted by cotterpin at 5:22 AM on May 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


Man, it must suck to be a water engineer.

I'm good friends with two water engineers, and mainly they don't care what the customers think of them. What they do think is that if people knew what extraordinary lengths they go to to purify our water so that we can shit in it, we'd make a few changes to our standard infrastructure.

Lord_Pall: Did I miss anything?

Car bomb in Times Square.
posted by rusty at 6:47 AM on May 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a side note: Earlier in the week the town of Concord, MA voted to ban the sale of bottled water.
posted by Gungho at 7:30 AM on May 2, 2010


In related news, Boston-area Dunkin Donuts aren't serving coffee :( No need to get out of bed, anyone.
posted by fermezporte at 7:34 AM on May 2, 2010


Dunkin Donuts, for shame. Isn't 180 degree water used for brewing coffee hot enough to kill the pathogens?

It's their loss, but think of all the parched children who can't have their morning coffee. Somebody please think of the children who need their morning donut and coffee!
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:57 AM on May 2, 2010


As a side note: Earlier in the week the town of Concord, MA voted to ban the sale of bottled water.

Concord is not in the MWRA, and gets its water from a lake in neighboring Acton.

The details get worse for people who are in the affected towns. They say you can use the water to was dishes if you do it in a dishwasher with a sanitizing cycle. Otherwise, you have to dunk the dishes afterwards for a minute in diluted bleach, then air-dry.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:36 AM on May 2, 2010


I think part of the issue with the water being safe for fire protection is the amount of pressure in the system.
posted by stopgap at 8:55 AM on May 2, 2010


I am having trouble even imagining how bad this leak must be, at 10x the size.

I saw the photos on the news last night [I live in VT but the slingbox I watch is in MA] and it looked like a giant river had opened up in the street. It was really one big local newscast about how inconvenient it is to drive around looking for bottled water. On the one hand, hey Eastern MA folks, I feel you. On the other hand, wow, it made everyone look like a bunch of bratty kids ["We have to drive to ANOTHER store...."] which I guess is what the news does generally. My family lives right outside the affected area and they have well water so if you have some sort of pressing water need, let me know and I'll introduce you to my Mom. Her water smells like sulfur but at least it's potable.

Meanwhile not_on_display is up here in lovely Vermont and we're going to load his trunk full of water and hope he makes it over the border and back to his affected town intact. My sister says that Dunking Donuts isn't making coffee and all of Eastern MA is geatting headachey which is the true aquapocalypse.

I think it's a conspiracy by the bottled water companies. Inside job.
posted by jessamyn at 9:35 AM on May 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn, I'm missing something here: do people not know how to boil their own water?
posted by Melismata at 10:29 AM on May 2, 2010


nat: the MWRA has said the water is safe for "bathing, flushing and fire protection." (Jeez, I wonder how bad the water has to get before it's no longer safe for fire protection!)
posted by danb at 9:47 PM on May 1 [1 favorite +] [!]


Couple years ago when DEP released its new, lower standards for clean waterways, called, ironically, "Fishable, Swimmable, Boatable waters," my shellfishing friends' heads all exploded. The baseline standard for water you can fish in (let alone swim or boat in) is about a hundred times dirtier than the standard for cultivating shellfish, which are stationary filter feeders and you cannot have any fecal bacteria at all (like 8 ppm or less). IIRC, the boatable water standard was like, "it's probably ok if a little water splashes on you but don't get any in your mouth or eyes."
posted by toodleydoodley at 11:07 AM on May 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Man, it must suck to be a water engineer. Almost everywhere in the country, you turn on a tap and safe water shows up like magic..... it works so well that people completely take it for granted, and only notice you when it breaks.

Reminds me of a book where the gimmick is that sometimes technology in an area fails and magic takes over for a while, so cars and electricity and the like don't work. Thing is, phones usually do work when the magic hits. It's explained that people expect phones to always work, even when the power is out. Most don't know how the telecommunications system works, so the magic of their belief makes the calls go through.
posted by Evilspork at 11:39 AM on May 2, 2010


Jessamyn, I'm missing something here: do people not know how to boil their own water?

We get confused when you skip the step where you add the salt cod and potatoes.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:57 PM on May 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't like swimming in milt.

There's no use crying over spilt milt.
posted by zippy at 1:03 PM on May 2, 2010


I started eyeing the tap, weighing cautions about the heavy metals in the water (which boiling cannot remove) against my tremendous thirst.

Boil the water, but direct the condensing steam into a receptacle, instead of allowing it to evaporate into the air. maybe, aluminum foil folded into a little triangle shape? (the k on Al is pretty terrible, so it might not condense very quickly, but maybe if you channel the steam further away, it will be able to get more air cooling.)
posted by rubah at 2:56 PM on May 2, 2010


If any Boston-area mefites are still reading this, i am unexpectedly staying the night in Boston and looking for a floor to crash on.
posted by fake at 2:57 PM on May 2, 2010


Has anyone actually tried drinking the boiled water? What with it being 85 today, I boiled a pot of Charles River tap water, let it cool, ran it through a Brita filter, and then proceeded to spit it out because it tasted so foul. Boiling may kill the bacteria, but it sure didn't help the taste.
posted by fogster at 3:17 PM on May 2, 2010


Fogster - koolaid, Crystal Light, tea, etc all may help the taste - a little.
posted by blaneyphoto at 5:10 PM on May 2, 2010


So will a jigger of Bourbon. Apply, repeat as necessary.
posted by Gungho at 7:33 AM on May 3, 2010


Relax, everyone. It's not like they make Faygo in Boston. That's still safe to drink, and I thought that was all JuggaloFilterians drank.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:37 AM on May 3, 2010


Also, why would you worry about anyone outside of the Family?
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:40 AM on May 3, 2010


Last night my husband very carefully cleaned a whole stack of dishes in diluted bleach... and then rinsed them under the tap, in the dirty water. D'oh!

(Me, I'm just looking forward to being able to wash my hands like a normal person, instead of with boiled water, or with hand sanitizer.)
posted by sarcasticah at 12:47 PM on May 3, 2010


Water ban's over! (Somerville link, but says the whole area is good to go.) Don't forget to boil your water flush your pipes!
posted by heyforfour at 5:27 AM on May 4, 2010


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