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DEM Office of Water Resources Staff to Participate in Somerset Wastewater Treatment Facility Dye Study

PROVIDENCE - Scientists and engineers from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with staff from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MADMF), RI Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and the Coastal Resource Management Council (CRMC), will conduct a dye tracing study in Mount Hope Bay from September 7–12 at the Somerset Water Pollution Control Facility. The purpose of the study is to determine the impact, if any, that the outflow from the pollution control plant into the Taunton River and subsequently into Mt. Hope Bay may have on shellfish harvesting waters.

As part of the study, Rhodamine WT dye, which is harmless to people and ecosystems, will be released from the pollution control plant on Monday, September 8. This will result in portions of the tidal waters of the Taunton River and Mt. Hope Bay turning reddish in color during the day on Monday.

FDA, along with the other participating agency staff, will monitor the tidal flow in an effort to track the dispersion of the dye from the pollution control plant. The data collected will be used to produce a report and dispersion maps from the plant's discharge diffuser into the Taunton River and Mt. Hope Bay. This information will ultimately help ensure the safety of shellfish harvested from these waters for human consumption.

Contacts for the project are as follows:

MADMF: Greg Sawyer (508) 990-2860 ext. 130 MADEP: Claire Golden (978) 694-3244 DEM: Joe Migliore 222-3961 ext. 7258; Lucinda Hannus 222-4700 ext. 7241 US FDA: Shelly Burgess, FDA Public Affairs Office (301)796-8815 US EPA: Susan Murphy (617)918-1534; Ken Rocha, Narragansett Laboratory (401)782-9612; Office of Public Affairs (617) 918-1010 Town of Somerset: Harry Gracia, Superintendent (508)646-2838

Related links

  • Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management
  • Online:
  • Release date: 09-05-2014

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