PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is advising the public to refrain from contact recreation in the Seekonk River. Officials recommend washing your hands before drinking or eating if there was contact with the Seekonk River. This advisory is in effect until sundown on Thursday, April 26.
Based on information gathered from Narragansett Bay Commission (NBC) staff, it is estimated that approximately 215,000 gallons of sewage entered the Blackstone River over 15 hours due to an apparent blockage. NBC crews were able to disinfect a portion of the discharge with chlorine and stopped the overflow at noon yesterday. The amount of the overflow was increased due to water line flushing conducted by the Pawtucket Water Supply Board.
Today, NBC notified DEM staff of another, four-hour, 65,000-gallon sewage overflow that entered the Blackstone River in Central Falls and ended at 1:00 a.m. today. This overflow was due to water line flushing conducted by the Pawtucket Water Supply Board which exceeded the capacity of NBC's combined sewer system.
DEM is investigating the incidents. Based on previous time-of-travel studies, DEM believes that both spills have been flushed from the Blackstone River. The spills will not impact shellfishing in Narragansett Bay.
The Blackstone and Seekonk Rivers, and other rivers in the greater Providence area, also receive combined sewer overflows after rainfall, and appropriate precautions should be taken after rain events.