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Worcester shuts off all water to fix main

WORCESTER — A major water main break near Worcester State University forced officials to shut down the water supply to the entire city Monday while crews worked to repair the line.

Robert L. Moylan, the city’s director of public works and parks, said a citywide water shutdown was initiated late in the afternoon at the water treatment plant off Reservoir Street to try to gain control of the 40-inch main that leads to the 30-inch main that broke earlier in the afternoon.

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The 40-inch main needed to be shut down before repairs could begin on the 30-inch main, he said. The system was expected to be repaired by early morning.

Classes at the university, where at least one building — Ghosh Science and Technology Center — was flooded, were canceled for Tuesday.

The city of Worcester had not made a decision on whether to hold classes as of Monday evening.

The entire city had to be taken offline because crews had trouble getting all the gate valves leading to the main shut off, Moylan said. Officials have more confidence in the gate valves near the treatment plant.

The lack of a reliable water supply prompted the Fire Department to activate the District 7 Task Force, which brings tanker trucks in from surrounding towns to supply water for firefighting.

Moylan said the crews would be working throughout the night on repairs.

While the city did not believe contamination would be a factor, residents were advised to boil the water before consuming it.

The boil advisory will remain in effect for 24 hours.

When the main broke, it sent a wide stream of water gushing across the front of Worcester State’s campus in the area of Chandler and May streets, sending a torrent of water all the way down to the baseball fields.

The break was reported around 12:30 p.m and the decision to shut down the entire system was made sometime after 6 p.m.

All residents and businesses will likely experience low or no potable water flow during the repairs, the DPW said in a press release.

The city’s water system has 40,000 connections and serves nearly 200,000 people.

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