Another Sewer Leak. Another Beach Closure.

This morning, Westport Fire Department personnel were notified that sewage was coming up from a manhole in front of Saugatuck Elementary School.

Public Works was called, and a representative responded. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Parks & Recreation Department, Conservation Department, Marine Police and businesses abutting the Saugatuck River were notified too.

The Sewer Department is working to mitigate the problem. This sewer is separate from — and the discharge “significantly smaller than” — last week’s sewer leakage event downriver, the Fire Department says.

In an abundance of caution, the Westport Weston Health District closed all beaches for swimming until further testing can be done. They advised suspending river activities too.

The good news: It’s not a Saturday.

The other good news: Based on traffic around town, it’s that mid-August time of year when nearly everyone is away. Roads, stores and restaurants are empty. Enjoy!

Sewage coming out of a manhole cover. This is NOT the Riverside avenue scene, but it is the first thing that popped up on a Google Images search.

19 responses to “Another Sewer Leak. Another Beach Closure.

  1. It seems that we are now paying the price for years of inaction and indecision by an Administration that has failed to demand we make the necessary investments in our schools and our sewage system. And now the same Administration boasts that it will neither accept or reject 40 million in federal funds to fix a crumbling bridge? Huh ? I say it’s time for a change in leadership

    • Are you sure this is the result of deferred maintenance; not errors being made while that maintenance is taking place? This sounds like the NY Times comments section whenever there’s a story about a bridge failure. Half of the people blame heartless Republican budget cuts, and the other half blame corrupt Democrat politicians and unions. (Not necessarily in those proportions; it IS a liberal paper after all.)

    • Michael Calise

      And what pray tell are your motivations. your accusations sure have the odor of the subject!

    • Tying these two issues together is silly. The manhole leak is a simple maintenance issue, and I am sure it will be handled effectively and professionally just as the recent sewage leak was handled. With regard to the Cribari bridge, if Westport accepts the bridge funds now without knowing the actual plan for the bridge, we may have no control over what they build. Would you like to see a new bridge that would allow large trucks to bail off I-95 and clog up Saugatuck? Would you like to see the historical nature of the bridge destroyed? The Administration is handling this issue with prudence and I am grateful for their smart, strategic leadership.

      • I was noting the confluence of 3 issues actually – deteriorating school facilities, terrible clogged roads and now — overflowing sewers. If you believe that our town leadership on these issues has been “prudent” and that things are good, then by all means, you should vote to maintain the status quo. If on the other hand you are troubled by the lack of foresight, planning and investment in critical infrastructure then perhaps it’s time for a more pro-active approach. Our volunteer town boards do the best they can but without coordination, vision and leadership at the top, we are always going to be in “response” mode rather than getting ahead of these issues by planning and thinking

        • Coleytown middle school is mold issue and subsequent closing was a major failure by the leadership in the schools, not the Town administration. Leadership at the Board of Education and the superintendent’s office are responsible for that disaster.

    • Maybe if our leaders resolved to spend money wisely to maintain what we have—whether a much beloved historic Cribari Bridge or a perfectly functional intersection at Church and Myrtle – instead of giving into the threats of a vocal minority that will never be satisfied until everything in Westport is brand new and supersized, we’d have some money left over for future maintenance.

  2. “Maintenance hole cover,” you mean.

  3. Caroline Howe


  4. Jack Backiel

    If you keep getting sewer leaks, you’re going to have to change Westport’s name to Palm Beach!

  5. If deferred maintenance is to blame (sewage or schools), whether due to inaction, inadequate planning, indecision or simply kicking the can down the road, it would be fair to say that both the R party and the D party share responsibility since both parties have led our town over the last 18 years that I’ve lived here. That said, Jim Marpe is a good man, cares deeply about our town and provides thoughtful leadership (and I typically vote D). To pin blame on him for deferred maintenance (if that is the cause) is like saying only one party bears responsibility for our state’s fiscal mess (which, of course is not true). Westport is a pretty non-partisan town and our leaders have historically worked together for the greater benefit, regardless of party affiliation.

    • With all due respect, it is perfectly appropriate to assign blame for the state’s continuing fiscal mess to the state’s Democrat party. They have controlled the state legislature for decades and have held the Governor’s office for 10 years. The state’s financial problems are getting worse, not better, in large part due to the Democrats failed fiscal leadership and deep ties to state worker unions which have prevented them from getting pension costs under control.

      • Dick Lowenstein

        So writes the secretary of the Westport Republic Town Committee

        • Are you denying that the Democrats have put our state in dire financial straits? Two huge tax increases, cuts in services to hospitals, child services and the most vulnerable of our citizens, and no attempt to rein in unsustainable pension costs bankrupting the state. Yes, I am the secretary of the Westport RTC and the truth is the truth.

          • Dick Lowenstein

            Odd how a discussion of a leaky sewer has morphed into state politics. Let’s keep it local.

  6. Old pipes and equipment will fail at times … Our public waterlines have had several failures …

  7. David J. Loffredo

    Same sh!t, different day….