25 Million Gallons of Sewage Washed Into Stamford Harbor by Storm

Friday, 02 May 2014 08:25 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Twenty-five million gallons of sewage that has been partially treated spilled into Connecticut's Stamford Harbor after a stronger than expected storm brought heavy rains that overworked a nearby wastewater treatment plant's disinfection system.

According to the Wastewater Pollution Control Authority, the sewage spill occurred at about 10 p.m. Wednesday, resulting in a film of brown sludge which in some places was two inches thick atop the water, local dockmaster Carl Bochterie told The Stamford Advocate newspaper.

On Thursday afternoon, city officials conducted bacteria tests in Stamford waterways and concluded that the partially treated sewage overspill was not isolated to Stamford's wastewater treatment facility, but had also occurred at treatment plants at some 13 other municipalities in the area due to a month's worth of rain falling in just 24 hours, WTNH.com reported.

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In their assessment of the situation, Stamford officials also said Thursday that while they expect the environmental impact to be minimal, the sewage overflow will result in wastewater going into the Long Island Sound, WTNH.com noted.

"The city will take the precautionary measures of going ahead and informing people, posting signs, keeping people out of the water," Michael Handler, chairman of the Wastewater Pollution Control Authority, told WTNH.com. "We’re fortunate that this is not the swimming season."

In response to the sewage spillage, Stamford closed its beaches and shellfish beds and to closely monitor the bacteria level, The Stamford Daily Voice reported.

"We're very concerned about any exposure to water that has a very high bacteria count," Stamford Director of Health Anne Fountain told reporters as she surveyed the spill with the city's mayor David Martin on Thursday.

"It is disgusting. It was in all the slips and channel," local resident Erika Lelievre told The Stamford Advocate. "It has happened before, but this was the worst,"

According to environmental officials, the natural tidal will eventually flush out the sewage over time.

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