KULLIYAH OF ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE IN ENGINEERING GEN 4100 ENGINEERING ETHICS SAFETY AND ENVIROMENT

CASE STUDY OF : BOSTON WATER EMERGENCY MAY 2010

NAMES: -Reem Ismail Mohamed Rashad Submission date :

0829640

sec: 4

INTRODUCTION

longer bridges. which was completed in 1940 and had previously been the primary MWRA water supply conduit. MWRA operates more than 400 miles of pipe that provides drinking water to residents living in 51 of these 61 communities. new periods of success. Millions of gallons of water were released. It is designed to be the second main pipe in a dual system – paralleling the older Hultman Aqueduct. There will always be failures or disasters as engineers and designers push the boundaries by building taller buildings. in the city of Boston . The incident overview: The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) is a public authority established in 1984 to provide wholesale water and sewer services to 2. 2010. May 1.Massachusetts.5 million people and more than 5. failures appear to be inevitable in the wake of prolonged success. which holds segments of pipe together. To understand what engineering is and what engineers do is to understand how failures can happen and how they can contribute more than successes to advance technology.m. changes are made and regulations introduced only to be outstripped by further developments. Each time there is a failure or disaster.500 large industrial users in 61 metropolitan Boston communities. Indeed. hence.6-mile section of pipe began operating in 2003. Failures in turn lead to greater safety margins and. broke loose near Shaft 5A of the MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel. A primary component in the system is the MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel (MetroWest Tunnel).The concept of failure is central to understanding engineering. which encourages lower margins of safety. and the subsequent MWRA actions required . for the lessons learned from those disasters can do more to advance engineering knowledge than all the successful machines and structures in the world. This 17. a 10-foot-diameter coupling. At about 9:30 a. or by reaching further into space. on Saturday.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency and issued a boil water order for the affected communities. the boil water order had been lifted for all 30 communities affected by the break. May 4.to maintain water supply and repair the pipe damage affected the drinking water supply to the City of Boston and 29 other communities in the metropolitan area. MWRA repaired the broken pipe and restored full flow in less than two days. To maintain water delivery. EVALUATION: *The engineering aspect of the incident: . By 7:00 a. Despite the magnitude of the situation.m. MWRA reconfigured parts of the transmission system and switched to a combination of fully treated and chlorinated backup water supplies. on Tuesday.

disadvantaged populations. the panel concluded that the failed clamp was held together by studs of the wrong size. One way to minimize disruption is to identify alternative water supplies. This includes actions to ensure public health and repair critical water system components. was due to wrong-sized studs used in a clamp joining two giant water pipes. which explains why the coupling broke apart just eight years after it was installed. In a report released. The panel also found that some — if not most — of the studs securing the clamp probably cracked during the manufacturing process. *The ethical aspect of the incident: The most immediate actions to be taken by the utility in the face of an emergency of such a kind are those that reduce safety or health concerns. including establishing bottled water and potable water distribution points. Priority customers need to be identified and notified. It is important for utilities to minimize disruption of the supply of water during an emergency and to ensure that water is made available to customers based on priority of demand until normal operations can be restored. and potable water distribution points. they may include but are not limited to fire departments and fire protection systems. As applicable.an independent panel of experts was convened to investigate the water-pipe failure. care facilities. . systems must also take necessary steps to contain contaminated water supplies. weakening them. hospitals. which occurred along a section of the MetroWest Water Supply Tunnel. The panel determined that the failure.