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Searching for clues in water main bust

<p>State lawmakers, who yesterday quizzed members of an independent panel examining May’s massive water main break, seemed to focus their sights on the contractors and designers responsible for the completion of the section of pipe that failed.</p>

State lawmakers, who yesterday quizzed members of an independent panel examining May’s massive water main break, seemed to focus their sights on the contractors and designers responsible for the completion of the section of pipe that failed.


“It is important to us that you have the help of some of the companies that may not be cooperating,” said Sen. Marc Pacheco, a member of the committee of legislators who questioned the panel during a State House hearing yesterday.


The breach left 2 million greater Boston residents without drinkable water for three days.


Lawmakers asked panel chair Dr. Zorica Pantic, the president of the Wentworth Institute of Technology, if there are any pictures or video documenting the installation of the coupling, a 10-foot connection between two sections of pipe that is considered a key piece of evidence. They also asked if she had compiled a list of the contractors and designers, which she said could be put together.


Pantic said the panel started its investigation just this week.


While agencies continue to search for the missing coupling, Pantic said she is confident the panel can still shed light on the cause of the break. The investigation is focused on four factors: design, installation, material failure and outside influence.


The panel has already started examining a gasket and a corroded bolt that may have played a role in the incident.

 
 
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