State police on Monday blocked the access road to the aqueduct off Rte. 30 just before noon as members of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority along with detectives from the Massachusetts State Police and Framingham Police Department, explored the area.The tampering of locks at the Hultman aqueduct comes about a month after a trespassing incident at the Quabbin Reservoir. A state trooper on patrol near Belchertown noticed two women and five women walking towards vehicles parked on the grass near the middle entrance.
MWRA spokeswoman Ria Convery said the cut locks were discovered Monday morning and that the hatches could not have been unlocked for long because the agency regularly checks the aqueduct. Convery would not speak to the frequency of the checks because of terrorism concerns.
The MWRA released a statement at 2:20 p.m. indicating that the water supply is safe.
"There is no evidence that there was any attempt to disrupt or contaminate the water supply," the statement said. "MWRA’s real-time water quality monitoring shows no change in water quality nor any sign of contamination."
A Framingham officer knocked on the door of a nearby home that has a view of the aqueduct trail, which is located in the woods off Rte. 30.
State police said they will be investigating the incident but do not have any additional details.
The Hultman Aqueduct is one of two main tunnels that carry drinking water from the John J. Carroll Water Treatment Plant in Marlborough to Greater Boston.
The state trooper determined that the five were trespassing and after being taken into custody, it was learned that the trespassers were graduates from nearby colleges who came here from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Singapore.
The individuals claimed to be chemical engineers, recent college graduates, and stated that they were at the reservoir for education and career interest, according to State Police.Since the September 11th terrorist attacks, vehicle access has been restricted on the roads leading into the Quabbin.
The individuals live in Amherst, Cambridge, Sunderland, Northampton and New York City.
They have no warrants against them and no crime was committed Tuesday, other than the trespassing. An investigation is being conducted due to the late hour of the incident, the individuals' explanation for why they were there, and the trespassing.
The Quabbin Reservoir was completed in the late 1930s and displaced four towns in Hampshire and Worcester County in the process. It is Massachusetts's largest inland body of water and that part of Massachusetts has even appeared in horror writings from the likes of HP Lovecraft or Stephen King.