By Tracy F. Seelye and
WHITMAN — Town Administrator Frank Lynam advised residents at about 5 p.m., Friday, May 29 that the order to boil water in the wake of a Brockton water main break on May 27 had been lifted.
Water conservation wherever possible is still advised, however, due to the lack of rain over the past few months. Hanson has imposed a total ban on outside watering since May 18.
Lynam’s message via reverse-911 calls to town residents announcing the end of the boil-water order was the second within an hour on Friday.
“I hope [this] is our last message regarding water,” Lynam said. “We have been advised that the city of Brockton has lifted its water ban and we now do the same.”
He thanked residents for their cooperation and said full use of tap water was safe.
The first call on Friday, at about 4:20 p.m., announced verbal confirmation of the town’s second clean water test, but Lynam noted that, since the water is delivered from Brockton, the “water ban cannot be lifted until Brockton lifts its ban” on consuming water unless it had boiled vigorously for one minute.
The state Department of Environmental protection requires successive testing of three water samples to determine no bacteria is present before it can be consumed without boiling.
Lynam said Thursday morning no information had been seen that indicated there was contamination.
“But its reasonable to conclude that, when a two-foot main breaks, and all the aggregate then drops and mixes in the water, there’s a good chance [contamination could be present],” he said. “It’s one of the primary pipes coming from Silver Lake.”
A state of emergency had been declared by Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter’s Office Wednesday, May 27 in regard to a major water main break on Central Street in East Bridgewater, the effects of which were felt in Whitman and Hanson. Whitman followed with an emergency declaration from Selectmen Chairman Carl Kowalski, in effect through noon Thursday, though the boil order had remained in effect for another 29 hours.
One of two 24-inch main feed lines on Central Street in East Bridgewater ruptured during the early morning hours. The pipes are 12 feet apart and workers were unable to determine which pipe had failed until 2 p.m.
Whitman, Hanson, East Bridgewater and Brockton were directly affected. The water is pumped from Silver Lake to Brockton with the interruption in the center of East Bridgewater. In Hanson, only residents of Main and Franklin streets and Sydney Lane were affected by the boil water order, according to the town’s Health Department.
A statement from W-H school officials was sent via auto connect to parents stated low water pressure was being experienced at WHRHS, Whitman Middle, Conley and Duval elementary schools. The other schools in the district were not affected and, while the pressure was restored at the schools by Wednesday afternoon, the boil-water order placed drinking fountains off-limits.
Bottled water was made available to students in the affected schools.
WHRHS Principal Jeffrey Szymaniak said the situation was “a pain in the butt” for schools.
The biggest issue was keeping bathrooms clean, he said. School administrators had decided Wednesday morning to serve lunch with disposable plates and utensils and to make bottled water available.
“The schools were prepared,” Lynam said.
By Thursday, the water main break had been repaired, and the City of Brockton was flushing its mains to remove sediment and discolored water, Lynam advised Whitman residents. Brockton then boosted its chlorine level to ensure clean water.
When Brockton completed the flushing process, Whitman flushed its mains and lifted the boil water order Friday evening.