Terrorist Travel Advisory

From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

My son and I woke up Sunday morning and drove a rented truck to New York City to move his worldly goods into an apartment there. As we made it to the Holland Tunnel, after traveling the Tony Soprano portion of the Jersey Turnpike with a blue moon in our eyes, the woman in the toll booth informed us that, since 9/11, trucks were not allowed in the tunnel; we'd have to use the Lincoln Tunnel, she said. So if you are a terrorist trying to get into New York from Jersey, be advised that you're going to have to use the Lincoln Tunnel.

Posted on April 20, 2006 at 12:09 PM • 46 Comments

Comments

ThomasApril 20, 2006 12:52 PM

Or the Geo Washington Bridge -- upper level only. But don't take photos when you do...

AnonymousApril 20, 2006 1:01 PM

It's possible that one tunnel has scanning/bomb detection equipment in place but the others don't.

Dan GochenourApril 20, 2006 1:04 PM

So for those of us unfamiliar with the tunnels in and out of New York City, would the damage associated with a truck bomb be more drastic in one tunnel over the other? If they are going that far, why not just not allow any trucks into the city?

Bruce SchneierApril 20, 2006 1:15 PM

"It's possible that one tunnel has scanning/bomb detection equipment in place but the others don't."

That's the hope, that this is a funneling process designed to send the bad guys through the one tunnel that is best equipped to catch them.

DApril 20, 2006 1:16 PM

@Dan Gochenour:

Because then you affect the supply line for evey business in NYC and business interests would throw a fit citing a decline in profits/revenues, get the lobbyists fired up and repeal the legislation involved. This sounds like a thread from an earlier post...

AGApril 20, 2006 1:17 PM

On the Holland Tunnel;
"
TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS POST-9/11: For more than one month after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the Holland Tunnel was closed to all traffic except emergency vehicles. When the tunnel reopened, the Port Authority and the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) imposed new HOV restrictions, as part of larger-scale efforts to reduce congestion in Manhattan below 63rd Street. First applied around the clock, the Manhattan-bound HOV restriction later applied only during the morning rush. The restriction was lifted in November 2003.


When the tunnel reopened to non-emergency traffic in October 2001, only cars and buses were permitted to use the Holland Tunnel. Restrictions against truck traffic were lifted gradually. Today, the only prohibitions apply to trucks with four or more axles, trailers and towed vehicles, effectively restricting a popular truck route along Canal Street for New Jersey-bound trucks. Prior to the 2001 attacks, truckers from Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island used the route (via the Williamsburg and Manhattan bridges) to avoid the stiff one-way toll of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, and have a toll-free trip to New Jersey. Transportation and community groups have applauded the restriction, and are seeking to make it permanent."

Taken from http://www.nycroads.com/crossings/holland/

Alun JonesApril 20, 2006 1:58 PM

"So for those of us unfamiliar with the tunnels in and out of New York City, would the damage associated with a truck bomb be more drastic in one tunnel over the other? If they are going that far, why not just not allow any trucks into the city?"

The obvious answer is that if you blow up the one tunnel that allows trucks, you (at least temporarily) prevent trucks from entering or leaving NYC.

fishbaneApril 20, 2006 2:08 PM

Well, that's one vote for open threads on this blog.

Insert randomly generated political nonsequiter here.

swiss connectionApril 20, 2006 3:10 PM

"Well, that's one vote for open threads on this blog.

Insert randomly generated political nonsequiter here."

Jesus you guys, I cannot find the word nonsequiter in the dictionary!

AGApril 20, 2006 3:33 PM

Because, it is spelled Non sequitur not nonsequiter.

Anyhow, I think the truck traffic being routed differently was just incorrectly linked to the 9/11 attacks. When in fact the change has to do with the traffic control on 63rd street.

Nick LancasterApril 20, 2006 3:43 PM

That's because it's non sequitur.

It's Latin, and the literal meaning is 'does not follow' - it is used in discussion/debate to point out an item that does not logically proceed from another, like many of the Bush Administration arguments on war and security.

However, Dick Cheney's 'The lack of terrorist attacks is because of our policy' is more of a post hoc ergo propter hoc ... like saying there are no elephants on NYC street corners because I whistle Dixie every morning.

Davi OttenheiemrApril 20, 2006 4:00 PM

"The lack of terrorist attacks is because of our policy"

Not just a logical fallacy, an attempt to obfuscate the issue to hide their failures...terrorist attacks have moved to a different geographic location. Was that the intent of the policy, or was it to end terrorist attacks on US citizens anywhere in the world? Thousands of US citizens have died from terrorist attacks since the fall of Saddam Hussein, and many more die each day.

Mitch P.April 20, 2006 4:20 PM

There have been no significant terrorist attacks against the U.S. since the release of the iPod in October 2001, thus demonstrating the value of iPods in fighting terrorism.

Bruce SchneierApril 20, 2006 4:29 PM

"The lack of terrorist attacks is because of our policy"

I remember a few years ago, when Attorney General Ashcroft came to Minneapolis. In his speech, he said something like: "There have been no terrorist attacks in the past two years, and that's proof that our policies are working." I remember thinking: "There were no terrorist attacks in the two years preceeding 9/11, and you didn't have any policies. What does that prove?"

Bruce SchneierApril 20, 2006 4:30 PM

"There have been no significant terrorist attacks against the U.S. since the release of the iPod in October 2001, thus demonstrating the value of iPods in fighting terrorism."

Precisely.

BrandonApril 20, 2006 5:07 PM

"There have been no significant terrorist attacks against the U.S. since the release of the iPod in October 2001, thus demonstrating the value of iPods in fighting terrorism."

Steve Jobs may want to know about this.

gotpasswordsApril 20, 2006 5:45 PM

"It's possible that one tunnel has scanning/bomb detection equipment in place but the others don't."

A nice thought, but a friend works for one of the leading producers of cargo scanning systems. They're not fast enough to operate at traffic speeds, (they're still at about 30 seconds or more per truck/container) and most of the technologies are not suitable for human contact. At the high end, this company makes a CT scanner with a 15 MV Xray source - a few hundred times stronger than a typical medical Xray.

At least I wouldn't want to sit in the driver's seat and get bombarded with strong gamma rays, Xrays or neutrons.

Davi OttenheimerApril 20, 2006 5:45 PM

While the post hoc fallacy is fun, it also reminds me of another famous analysis -- global temperatures are rising as the number of pirates dwindle:

http://www.venganza.org/piratesarecool4.jpg

"You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature."

Have incidents of terrorism gone up as the earth becomes warmer (the old heat=violent crime theory)? Could there be a causal link between a reduction in pirates and a rise in suicide bombers?

Josh O.April 20, 2006 7:56 PM

Even if there is no special detection equipment, this policy will keep them from hitting both tunnels at once I guess, so that at least one tunnel will remain, for logistic purposes during and after an attack.

Josh O.April 20, 2006 7:57 PM

@Jungson, not really, they just go from the New Jersey side of the river to the Manhattan side, so there's just river over them. There was a movie with Sylvester Stallone about an explosion in one of them, I think the Holland. The people get stuck in there and have to be rescued by Sly.

jmrApril 20, 2006 8:07 PM

99.99% of cocaine addicts were originally bread users, thus showing the causal link between bread use and cocaine addictions.

My personal favorite item like this (actually, I'm rather incensed about it) is the dam in Clinton, MA, holding back the Wachusett Reservoir. Neither vehicles nor foot traffic were permitted across the damn before 9/11. However, there's a gorgeous park surrounding the damn. At the foot of the damn is a fountain where the water passing through the damn comes up (there's a separate spillway for high-flow operations), and foot paths and trails surrounding the location. Now, in addition to the already restricted vehicular traffic (there was a parking area a good ways away from the damn itself), you can't go in that area on foot either.

Of course, I can't figure out what a lone person is going to do on foot that can be prevented by this policy, but hey. I mean, somebody intent on, say, blowing up the dam, isn't going to give a damn (hah hah) about a no-foot-traffic policy. In order to really cause harm, they'll need a vehicle full of explosives anyway.

Or if you're worrying about the water supply might be contaminated, what quantity of any sort of contaminate do you need in a multi-billiion? trilliion? gallon reservoir before you can cause any actual harm?

I haven't driven by in the last year or so to see if it is open, but I'm guessing it's not (what the government taketh away, it keepeth away), and I'm utterly infuriated about such a blatantly stupid policy.

jmrApril 20, 2006 8:08 PM

Ugh, I always misuse "damn" and "dam". Figure out which one is which from context, okay?

CassandraApril 21, 2006 12:24 AM

@ jmr

"Or if you're worrying about the water supply might be contaminated, what quantity of any sort of contaminate do you need in a multi-billiion? trilliion? gallon reservoir before you can cause any actual harm?"

Botulinum toxin, "may only take 90 g to contaminate a typical large reservoir"
see http://www.asanltr.com/newsletter/02-1/articles/Botulinum.htm

Ricin, 1,000 time less potent than Botulinum Toxin, so would need 90 Kg to contaminate a typical reservoir.

Plutonium dust - not especially toxic, but liable to cause lots of cancers.

to name three. There's others, as a quick web search would show. Thankfully, most, if not all, of the *really* toxic stuff is quite difficult to produce, but that hasn't stopped people like Aum Shinrikyo, Saddam Hussein and other from trying.

Cassie.

Arturo QuirantesApril 21, 2006 2:17 AM

"Have incidents of terrorism gone up as the earth becomes warmer (the old heat=violent crime theory)? Could there be a causal link between a reduction in pirates and a rise in suicide bombers?"

Don't think so. In Spain, terrorist acts have typically been the works of ETA, a separatist Basque group. The Basque country is in the north, where temperatures are quite low. In sunny Andalucia, there were virtually no attacks.

On the other hand, the Scandinavian countries seems to be terrorism-free, but on the other hand the suicide rates are much higher there. Maybe the direction guns are aimed at are in relation with temperature, or maybe latitude... hmm, time to get myself a cold beer.

JungsonnApril 21, 2006 2:19 AM

"Or if you're worrying about the water supply might be contaminated, what quantity of any sort of contaminate do you need in a multi-billiion? trilliion? gallon reservoir before you can cause any actual harm?"

It think that can be a huge treat, but i also asume that things are being tightly watched and monitored.

The thing is that radioactive material everywhere exists. Its natural, and remains in the soil. Also in our food, and - watch this - biological grown food has more carcinogenics or toxins then artificial made food. So its absolutly unfounded to say that is "good healthy food". But radioactive stuff in food is so little, few ppm (parts per million) that you have to eat very much to realy do damage in cells and their DNA. But eventually it will do harm, and you get cancer, yes also from good food. Theoretical it's better to eat artificial flavourings and colorings.

Whoops, of topic.

CassandraApril 21, 2006 3:43 AM

@ Jungsonn
"i also asume that things are being tightly watched and monitored"

From a security viewpoint, rather than assuming, wouldn't it be better if such watching and monitoring were public and you could check it was being done?

An interesting question is whether there should be full disclosure of security vulnerabilities. In the software world, there are powerful arguments that full disclosure is the right way to go. Does the same apply to the physical world? If not, why not?

Cassie

Clive RobinsonApril 21, 2006 5:28 AM

@Mitch P., Bruce Schneier, Brandon

"There have been no significant terrorist attacks against the U.S. since the release of the iPod in October 2001, thus demonstrating the value of iPods in fighting terrorism."

That's because (in the UK at least) you can be expected to have your head blown off if you have wires hanging out of your pocket. Unless the Police know it's an entertainment system which of course means the highly recognisable wiring of an iPod...

Therefore to be hip-n-trendy the non-Jobs way is to put your life at risk, I think that's what you call a "Powerfull Fashion Statment".

MSBApril 21, 2006 8:24 AM

@Cassandra

"An interesting question is whether there should be full disclosure of security vulnerabilities. In the software world, there are powerful arguments that full disclosure is the right way to go. Does the same apply to the physical world? If not, why not?"

I guess that depends on who you ask and where the vulnerability is. If you ask an average person on the street whether information about vulnerability and disaster scenarios should be disclosed to the public, you'll probably get something like "why would you want to help the terrorists?"

On the other hand, if you ask them if they want to be informed of potential disasters that may affect their family (say the chemical plant nearby stores and uses huge quantities of highly toxic chemicals), you might get a very different answer. (Their truthful answer might be, "Ok, just let *me* know, so that me and my family can unload the house and move elsewhere.")

JungsonnApril 21, 2006 11:24 AM

@Cassie

"From a security viewpoint, rather than assuming, wouldn't it be better if such watching and monitoring were public and you could check it was being done?"

This is yet another problem: who watches the guards? or who polices the police? - we have to assume they are doing their jobs. If we cannot trust anymore, then this world becomes a terrible place. So watertight security is impossible, there always remain weak links. And the situation now today with suicide bombers - who take people with them - they are just scum, and really cannot say that they are humans, You just don't do this. Because it is so easy, and it is cheating on the game. if you're a man and you hate people, go and talk about it or at least fight like a man.But these threaths are really one of our big problems, and cannot be solved from a security standpoint. These people have to start realize that taken people with them in their bombings, are things: You just don't do...

Clive RobinsonApril 21, 2006 11:48 AM

@Cassandra

"In the software world, there are powerful arguments that full disclosure is the right way to go. Does the same apply to the physical world? If not, why not?"

I can give you a couple of reasons,

Software (not firmware) can be changed, augmented or updated almost at any time as frequently as is required. The software can (within reason) be just as easily replaced entirley. The physical resources required (not monetry) are fairly close to zero for the end user.

Therefore there is no argument about making changes to implement new security or other features just in finding out those required (which does have significant cost for the manufacture).

In fact most major software vendors realy on this ability in their business model (think our desktop and how many software updates / upgrades / bug fixes it's had in the last 18 months)

This is however not true of tangable physical objects once in production or sold to a customer. Often it is not possible to make changes in any meaningfull way without significant physical and monetry cost (as well as organisational reputation). Also the end user is going to be inconvenianced in a very significant way.

For instance think of a car manufacture that discovers that it's air intake is in the wrong place and every time their people carrier turns left through a puddle, water is drawn up and destroys it's engine. Or a tyre manufacture where the tyre blows out under certain conditions (hard turn at above sixty MPH when tyres are cold). This is one of the reasons the US has the so called Lemon Laws and other consumer protection laws.

So reason number one,

Software as far as the end user is concerned is intangable, and has very minimal change costs. Therefore they demand security fixes promptly.

Making the fix can be very expensive for the manufacture who has limited (pretty much all the) liabilities via the EUL. They therefor often do not feel constrained to devote the level of resources to the fix that the end user thinks appropriate.

As the end user cannot get at the software manufacture directly (EUL and no Lemon Laws) the indirect solution embaress them into performing hence full disclosure.

So on to reason number two,

Most infrestructure projects are unique with a single deliverable, the design costs are very high as are the implementation costs both directly and indirectly (think disruption). The design followes industry best/good practice which was limited by a RISK/Cost benifit analysis.

Untill 9/11 only natural (earthquakes, lightning, etc) and accidental risks (fire etc) where considered. protection from terror just did not make it onto the wish list let alone best practice as the risk (in the US) was so close to zero as to be unquantifiable.

So you have an existing mass infrestructure environment (ie a city like New York) that has no provision for Terror Risk and many many thousand targets what do you do...

Any work would take significant resources money / manpower / time / materials. Every building is a target, you are talking billions of dollars a year for maybe the next 50-100 years... Or do you find some other security method that costs significantly less and does not intrude (significantly) on peoples lives and commercial activities.

Worse sometimes it is not possible to fix a problem and no physical solution is possible.

For instance The roof of a tunnel can only be strenghtend a limited amount before either you have no tunnel (ie a lining) or you break the surface (over laying). Likewise you cannot fit effective and working blast doors down the tunnel without significantly imparing traffic flow.

On the one hand an imposible physical problem, on the other an intangable solution keep quiet and apparently try to scare the problem away, knowing that the actual likley hood of another terror atack is still very very close to zero.

Your call...

jmrApril 21, 2006 11:57 AM

@ Cassandra

Yes, and so if you ARE able to contaminate a large reservoir with so little, how is a ban on foot traffic on a reservoir with ~90 miles of shore line going to work?

At any rate, the location that is now off limits is a significant distance away (read downstream) from the pumping station.

A much better approach that preserves people liberties, in my humble opinion, would be to be monitoring for the results of an attack, not prevention. In this particular case, prevention seems to be an impossible task.

Okay, let's figure out how much botulism toxin you need to contaminate Wachusett Reservoir (somebody call the FBI now).

From http://www.mwra.state.ma.us/monthly/wsupdat/evcwachusett.htm, we can estimate the capacity of the reservoir at 60,000 million gallons. To contaminate one gallon of water to a lethal dose, as suggested by http://www.asanltr.com/newsletter/02-1/articles/Botulinum.htm, would need 258 kg (60 billion gallons * 4.3 micro grams). Not exactly single person carrying capacity there. Of course, you could drop it down to 25.8 kg, for 1/10th the lethal dose per gallon.

Now, the "contaminate" the reservoir part just means that the water becomes unusable, without significant immediate deaths. So, yeah, you could conceivable contaminate Wachusett Reservoir with an amount of botulism toxin that can be carried by hand.

So, how do we prevent that from happening? Consider that this reservoir spans several towns, with a significant amount of shore-side property. There are roads passing within feet of the reservoir. So far, the answer I've come up with is that you cannot prevent a determined attacker from doing what he wants to do. Hell, at the right time of the night, a truck could in fact park alongside the reservoir and dump a lethal dose into the water. There just isn't any way to stop it.

Not all attacks are preventable at the target location. While I believe in defense in depth, one of the points of such a policy is to make each stage of defense an economical one. In this case, (I don't know how hard botulism toxin is to produce) we could consider measures limiting the amount of toxin available in one place, and monitor the water for its presence.

@Cassandra and @MSB, there IS NO SECURITY without disclosure. If the security relies on keeping a large secret, history has shown that the security doesn't last long. In this case, knowing that the water is being monitored for botulism toxin might be useful knowledge to an attacker; he might divert his resources elsewhere. On the other hand, taking out a reservoir is a big deal, so he might do it anyway. In no way has secrecy concerning whether or not monitoring is being performed helped in this case. Finally, if the secret is a weak secret, it can be brute forced. (Weak passphrases can be cracked, weak perimeter patrols can be watched, weak water quality monitoring can be bypassed.) Much better is a weak secret publicly exposed and made stronger.

(One wouldn't publicly disclose a passphrase, for example, but the rules for generating the passphrase. One wouldn't publish the patrol schedule, but the quantity and quality of the patrolling.)

Incidentally, the water from this reservoir has to travel ~60 miles to Boston, and on the way it opens into several other open air reservoirs. A determined attacker could attack any one of those locations.

Thank you, Cassandra, for pointing out the actual numbers and providing a link to hard information.

Finally, @Bruce, do you think it would be possible to make the text box for posts a bit bigger?

Pat CahalanApril 21, 2006 12:40 PM

If you're trying to protect something large and difficult to bound (water supply), you're already doing the wrong job. What are you really trying to prevent?

You can't protect it, its very nature prohibits cost effective barricading from unauthorized access.

So instead you monitor the egress. If you can effectively scan and/or clean-filter the water on egress from the reservoir, you have two new security barriers.

Now, terrorists can contaminate one water supply. You cannot prevent them from doing so, but you care much less.

If (#1) scanning is feasible, you know that a successful contamination attempt will produce no "terrorist" effect -> the contaminated water will be held out of the water supply, generating a giant inconvenience (water trucks need to be driven in from elsewhere, etc), but no deaths. "I can't take a shower" isn't really a scary terrorist attack. If (#2) clean-filter the water is feasible, then the terrorists can dump whatever in the water supply and you don't care, provided your scanning and cleaning both work (of course).

Too many of the DHS-funded "anti-terrorist" measures are missing the point. Preventing someone from contaminating a water supply is difficult and very cost-ineffective. It is better to say, "We need to know if a water supply is contaminated (which will benefit us if a non-human agent contaminates the water!) and we need to have a contaminated-water recovery plan (which will benefit us regardless of why the water supply fails... not just if it is contaminated by malice, but if the reservoir fails due to earthquake, etc.)

MikeApril 21, 2006 1:36 PM

This contaminated resevoir stuff should be in the Hollywood Movie plot post, shouldn't it?

It sounds like a winner...

WoodyApril 21, 2006 2:32 PM

@ Pat

"f (#1) scanning is feasible, you know that a successful contamination attempt will produce no "terrorist" effect -> the contaminated water will be held out of the water supply, generating a giant inconvenience (water trucks need to be driven in from elsewhere, etc), but no deaths."

I'd disagree. The attack being made, and a following disruption of service or a bout of publicity is all that is necessary for the terrorist attack to "succeed".

The suicide bomber in a bus has a woefully undamaging attack. Really, about as bad as a big car wreck on a highway (which are pretty common, around here). 12 dead isn't a big incident.

Yet, the aftereffects are the real attack. Now, people are worried about taking buses, about flying, etc. 9/11 was a massive attack, and it did a considerable amount of damage. But was the REAL damage that it did the 3000(?) lives lost, or the emotional impact on the rest of the country (and then we can add to the emotional impact the cost, both emotional and monetary, of Iraq and Afghanistan).

I'd say the aftereffects FAR outweigh the damage of the attack itself.

Pat CahalanApril 21, 2006 2:58 PM

I agree that the aftereffects far outweigh the damage, absolutely.

But terrorists want to inspire *terror*. If your watersupply is contaminated but the end result of that is three days where you can't take a shower or do dishes or whatever, that's not *terrifying*, just really annoying.

Deaths, disfigurements, explosions, etc. cause terror.

Moreover, if you intelligently plan for water supply contamination disasters, your countermeasure will work, and you'll be able to point to a tangible effective action. This might actually work to your advantage -> if you show that you can competently recover from a disaster with little or no practical impact, people will become *less* terrified.

jmrApril 22, 2006 11:38 AM

@Woody

The after-affects of 9/11 are that many people live in fear. From a terrorist point of view, 9/11 was a spectacular success whose mitigation can only come by ceasing to live in fear.

Like Pat says, the after-affects of a contaminated water supply shouldn't invoke mortal fear. Additionally, as Pat says and I agree, having a plan to deal with the effect of such an unlikely event as the loss of the Wachusett Reservoir seems much more cost-effective than actively trying to prevent somebody from causing its loss.

Consider, planning costs are near to nil for such an event, and such plans can be re-used from city to city with relatively minor modifications. The cost of monitoring the water must surely be less than installing and maintaining security cameras, paying people to watch the cameras, paying people to patrol the entire watershed area (you don't just have to protect the reservoir if everything flows down hill).

Now, does it make sense to pay a small amount of money to plan to deal with the effects of a non-preventable, but highly unlikely, threat, or to spend a lot of money to try to prevent a non-preventable threat when you STILL have to pay the small amount of money to have a credible defense?

Clive RobinsonApril 24, 2006 9:25 AM

@Pat Cahalan

"So instead you monitor the egress. If you can effectively scan and/or clean-filter the water on egress from the reservoir, you have two new security barriers."

This is not a realistic posability, the main problem is demand / time.

If you assume that effective testing for most chemical poisons takes an hour or so, and biological pathogens takes considerably longer.

As neither can be done on a continuous basis only by sampaling you have a real problem which opens up two oportunities,

1, A small amount of tox chucked in at a known time will get past the sample process.

2, The demand on water at times is very high (think first thing in the morning) the quantity of water that passes the testing point prior to the test results could be extreamly high (and don't talk about secondary storage that just gives another target to attack).

In either case I would not want to be having contact with the water...

Even if the tox was detected in time to prevent direct effect, the poison might be a percistant type whereby large parts of the infrestructure would have to be removed which could take months not days to sort out, giving you a new problem...


AlexApril 25, 2006 5:54 AM

The suicide bomber in a bus has a woefully undamaging attack. Really, about as bad as a big car wreck on a highway (which are pretty common, around here). 12 dead isn't a big incident.

But it's violent and dramatic, and the suicide factor seems to add some sort of moral impact that the public finds especially terrifying for reasons I'm not sure of.

Adam LockApril 25, 2006 9:21 AM

How does a toll booth stop a terrorist driving a truck? An innocent truck driver gets turned around. The terrorist drives straight through the barrier (or the fast track lane) and is already in the tunnel before anyone can do anything. By then it's too late.

BobApril 5, 2007 2:57 PM

JMR-
Once the water leaves the Wachusett Reservoir it goes via underground aqueduct to a disinfection plant. Upon disinfection it is sent to underground storage reservoirs before entering the system. These reservoirs have sensors that monitor for any contamination. They can be shut down remotely if the need arises.

All of the open distribution reservoirs have been off line for years and are maintained only as an emergtency backup system.

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