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FBI, state police investigate trespassing at Quabbin Reservoir 

STEVE PFARRER
Quabbin Reservoir.

STEVE PFARRER Quabbin Reservoir. Purchase photo reprints »

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority said water quality samples were analyzed at its lab May 14 and all came back normal after the incident.

Seven people who claimed to be recently graduated chemical engineering students — five men and two women — will be summoned to Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown for trespassing at the reservoir at 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. Police declined to release the names of those involved in advance of a court date, but said they reside in Northampton, Sunderland, Amherst, Cambridge and New York City.

They also said a preliminary investigation by authorities suggests the individuals originally are from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Singapore. There was no evidence that the seven individuals were committing any crime beyond trespassing, according to David Procopio, a state police spokesman.

“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,” Procopio said.

A state trooper on patrol observed and then approached two vehicles parked on the grass at the reservoir’s middle entrance May 14 at around 12:30 a.m. He called for backup after observing the seven individuals walking from the reservoir toward the vehicles.

The people told the trooper they were chemical engineers and recent graduates of the University of Massachusetts and Smith College. They said they wanted to see the Quabbin Reservoir, citing their educational and career interests, according to state police.

No warrants, detainers or advisories were found for any of the seven as a result of queries made by police, including through Interpol wanted persons. They also found no items of a criminal nature on them or in the two vehicles, according to state police. The seven were allowed to leave the scene in the vehicles.

State police notified the FBI’s Springfield office, which sent agents to the Belchertown State Police barracks to assist with the investigation. The Commonwealth Fusion Center, which serves as a conduit for multi-agency information and intelligence sharing, also was notified of the incident.

The Quabbin Reservoir is one of the largest man-made public water supplies in the country, covering 39 square miles. The reservoir can hold 412 billion gallons of water when full.

The Water Resources Authority tests the water daily and continuously with a real-time monitoring system for its biological, chemical and physical properties and conducts additional testing for a wider range of potential contaminants when anything unusual occurs.

“Any abnormalities are detected immediately,” the authority said in a statement Wednesday. “There is no evidence of any water quality issues at the Quabbin Reservoir following the trespassing incident.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Legacy Comments8

It sounds like a bunch of students who were at the wrong place at the wrong time. To be honest, it's not much of a story. If I were young, I might of been in the same situation, late at night, after classes were finished. The state police sent them home, and probably nothing will come of it. But what is really on my mind, is there are very few comments (or none) on most articles, yet this article inspired quite a few writers, many with what I'd call an objectionable tone in their writing. It doesn't sound like anything suspicious was going on.

I agree Tom. Late night adventures out in the woods the sounds of nature the play of light and the dark sky and seeing stars otherwise invisible these are some of the reasons I would be out in woods at that time except I'm a geezer and in bed by 10pm. I also agree that the theme of the comments seem to be narrow minded jingoism inspired by fear and paranoia about others.

Please. I hope this is sarcasm, guys.

Mbo2: Article states that investigators believe those involved in the trespassing incident are from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Singapore in the fourth paragraph.

Were they illegal aliens? Expired visas? 12:30 a.m.? Nothing good is happening at 12:30 a.m. That doesn't sound like an ordinary field trip. Send them back to their own countries.

First, the Associated Press just changed their official style book to banish the phrase "illegal aliens," which makes human beings sound like Martians. The phrase now commonly used is "undocumented workers" (or, in this case, students). Second, I assume they had student visas -- one can't simply come to the US and enroll in a state university without some sort of visa. Third, why is it that white students can hold loud, drunken, enormous parties all over town (including on the Common, if you wish to count Extravaganga), and people aren't calling for them to be "sent back to their own cities"? I see this as racial profiling. Let's call it what it is.

Well, perhaps I was a little harsh in saying to send them packing without the full story. Will we ever get the real story? But, I don't think that calling an Illegal Alien makes someone sound like a Martian. If they are here illegally, they're illegal. If they're trespassing, they're illegal, white, black, red, blue, whatever. No profiling here. Let's not forget those two terrorists that decided to blow up innocent people at the Boston Marathon. We really haven't received the whole story there yet. I would say not to "assume" anything at this point. We'll have to wait and see. Ah yes, p.c.

cute how the article leaves out the fact they were from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia irrelevant? riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight

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