Springfield’s mayor declares state of emergency following massive water main break

A major water main break in Springfield is still affecting both that area and surrounding towns.
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 10:36 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2023 at 11:50 AM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A major water main break in Springfield is still affecting both that area and surrounding towns.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said Wednesday morning that he will be declaring a state of emergency as a result of this water main break. It was also revealed by the mayor and the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission that pressure has been restored, which is a good sign. However, those in the Springfield area are not out of the woods just yet.

The 36-inch water main break was found behind Big Y on St. James Avenue Tuesday afternoon. The break happened around 3:30 p.m. in an area called Abbey Brook.

LEARN MORE: Massive water main break impacting Springfield, neighboring towns

According to the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission, the break resulted in a significant drop in water pressure throughout Springfield, Ludlow, and parts of Longmeadow and East Longmeadow. Crews had spent the entire rest of Tuesday trying to fix the pipe.

Sarno said that a boil water, that began overnight, is still in effect until further notice for Springfield residents and that the location of the break is dangerous.

“The area in question is very unstable where the break is. Erosion, we don’t want any of our pipes being compromised anymore and this has obviously been a huge inconvenience to our residents and business community,” Sarno explained.

It was believed at least five to ten million gallons of water was lost due to this break. An average of 30 million gallons of treated water goes through Springfield. Josh Schimmel, the executive director of the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission, spoke at the press conference at city hall and warned residents about possible contamination.

Springfield officials provided an update on the massive water main break that impacted water service in several communities and has prompted boil water orders

“The boil water order, as we have stated previously, is due to the potential for contamination. That potential is because that lost amount of pressure has the possibility of pulling in a negative pressure and putting contamination into the system,” schimmel said.

The break was reported by a citizen at around 5 p.m.

Springfield Public Schools are closed Wednesday and, at the moment, Superintendent Dan Warwick hopes to have the district back open Thursday, but a decision could be made by as late as Thursday morning.

The boil water order in Springfield remains in effect until further notice. City officials will continue to monitor the situation and discuss ways they can assist the public.

Springfield Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris also had a message for restaurants that were opening amid the boil water order. She said that coffee or soda from machines that are plumbed into tap water should be turned off. In addition, do not serve ice unless you are certain it was made before 3 p.m. Tuesday. Do not wash fruits and vegetables with tap water and instead wash with boiled water. They should also switch to serving single-serve utensils and do not wash dishes unless the dish water is a high-temperature dish water that reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit on the final rinse.

This interactive map shows the residential areas affected by this situation. The areas that are in yellow, which are all of Springfield and parts of Ludlow, are the areas affected by the break and hit with a boil water advisory.

Schimmel said that if all goes well with the water testing, the boil water advisory could be lifted as soon as Thursday, but for the moment, repairs remain ongoing.

Western Mass News will continue to follow this story and will have the latest as it becomes available.