Five men and two women faces trespassing charges for unauthorized access to the Quabbin Reservoir. Credit: Wikimedia Commons Five men and two women faces trespassing charges for unauthorized access to the Quabbin Reservoir. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The pair of bombs that exploded along Boylston Street a month ago took not only lives and livelihoods, they also took with them a sense of security that many Bostonians once had.

And now, a month after the Marathon bombings, another incident has brought into question the region’s vulnerability.

Seven people were found trespassing at the Quabbin Reservoir at about 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. The reservoir is the main source of water for most Boston and the city’s surrounding communities.

 

Police said there were no signs of any crime other than trespassing and the seven people, who said they were chemical engineers and just wanted to see the reservoir, will be summonsed to court at a later date.

Police said they would step up patrols and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority said additional testing revealed no compromise in the water system.

The threat to critical infrastructure like the Quabbin Reservoir is less about someone doing something to poison the water and more about someone seeking to do damage to the physical components of the supply system to cause mass disruption, said Stephen Flynn, a professor at Northeastern University and co-director of the school’s Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security.

“The basic issue we're dealing with increasingly with the terrorism threat is it’s not necessarily about mass casualty per se. It’s about mass disruption of critical things,” he said.

Flynn said the nation is “behind the curve” in looking at what systems and infrastructure is critical and what protections need to be put in place.

“This isn’t about putting armed troops along every part of the system, but thinking about how the system works and, should somebody try to target it, how can that can be contained,” he said.

The five men and two woman told troopers they were recent college graduates who wanted to see the reservoir for “education and career interests.”

The suspects are believed to be from Pakistan, Singapore, and Saudi Arabia, and were living in Massachusetts and New York City.

“Further investigation is being undertaken because of the late hour when they were observed, their curious explanation for why they wanted to see the reservoir, and the fact that they were in an area marked no trespassing,” state police said.

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