Local Features
8:18 am
Fri July 8, 2011

Woonsocket disputes sewage spill

PROVIDENCE, RI – The city of Woonsocket is disputing a state claim that tens of thousands of gallons of partially treated sewage flowed into the Blackstone River last week.

The city of Woonsocket says there is no truth to a Department of Environmental Management report that up to 162-thousand gallons of partially treated sewage flowed into the Blackstone River last week when a series of power surges caused the city's sewage treatment plant to shut down.

Woonsocket public works director Sheila McGauvran says the private company that operates the plant vacuumed it up before it reached the river.

"It went around the basins, down a slope and settled on a parking lot area," she says.

DEM principle engineer Bill Patenaude says he finds that hard to believe.

"I would say it's very unlikely that none did. We do acknowledge that 162 may be high but we don't think it's zero," he says.

The incident is still under investigation. The state could fine Woonsocket up to $25,000.

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