Sewage Spill: Monday Update

The Westport Fire Department has just issued this press release, regarding Saturday’s sewage spill in the Saugatuck River:

The town has continued to work closely with the Department of Public Health and state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

The Westport Weston Health District took multiple samples this morning from various beaches. They were sent to the state lab for testing. This test typically takes 24 hours, as it requires culturing the bacterial samples. Westport has requested that the state lab expedite the return of the results.

The WWHD made great efforts to ensure the safety of residents. They checked for private wells in the area of, and downstream from, the spill. They were unable to find any private wells in the area, and believe the properties to be on the public water supply.

Quick action on Saturday helped prevent a more dire situation.

As stated in yesterday’s update, there has been no further evidence of an additional leak since the evening of the break. It appears that the efforts by the Department of Public Works to mitigate and eliminate the spill were successful.

It is not possible to quantify the spill due to the number of variables that contribute to the dynamic flow volume. We believe that quick action by the DPW to shut down the pumps, isolate the area by closing valves, and immediately using vacuum trucks, followed by larger trailer-mounted pumps, was a contributing factor to minimizing the spill.

We will wait for results of the water test to come back. The town will confer with the state DPH and review the results. Residents and visitors should be assured that their health and well-being is paramount. The WWHD will not clear the water for swimming until it is deemed safe by them, as well as by state health officials. Officials remain optimistic that should the tests come back with a clean bill of health, the beaches could be reopened for swimming as soon as tomorrow afternoon.

Right now, this is as close as anyone should get to the water. (Photos/Mark Alex Maidique)

The new permanent pumps were on schedule to be completed in 2 weeks. Westport DPW is working to expedite this completion. In the meantime, the temporary solution is adequate, and will remain in place until the new pumps are operational.

Town officials certainly understand the impact that closing the waters has had on residents and businesses. We felt it necessary to do everything within our power to observe an abundance of caution to protect the health and well-being of everyone in the impacted area, and are doing everything possible to ensure that the waters are restored to their normal state.

We thank the residents and businesses for their understanding and cooperation through this process.

2 responses to “Sewage Spill: Monday Update

  1. Wendy Crowther

    Maybe I missed something but I don’t think there has been an explanation yet regarding exactly what failed and why. There’s been much printed about the subsequent response to the leak. That response seems to have been well coordinated and thorough. However, I’d like to know more about what actually broke and why. I believe that considerable work had been done on this sewage pipe recently.

    • I believe it has been covered. The pipe under the river failed. The town previously identified it as end of life and at risk for failure and already laid a new pipe under the river which is now being used.

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