Press Releases


DEM Notified of Disinfection System Failure at the Smithfield Wastewater Treatment Facility

Residents Advised to Temporarily Refrain from Contact Recreation Along the Woonasquatucket River

PROVIDENCE—The Department of Environmental Management is investigating a disinfection system failure at the Smithfield Wastewater Treatment Facility which resulted in the discharge of an estimated 450,000 gallons of undisinfected effluent to the Woonasquatucket River over a period of approximately five and one-half hours this morning. The system was offline from 1:43 a.m. to 7:14 a.m.

The Smithfield Wastewater Treatment Facility, operated by the private contractor Veolia Water, treats about two million gallons of sewage daily.

Wastewater disinfection removes pathogens and is the final step in the wastewater treatment process.

As a precaution, DEM and the RI Department of Health are advising people to refrain from contact recreation along the Woonasquatucket River downstream of the Smithfield treatment plant, and to avoid consuming fish from the river. This advisory is in effect until sundown tomorrow.

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management
  • Online:
  • Release date: 06-13-2013

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