Press Releases


Wastewater Treatment Disruption Forces Shellfish Closure of Upper Narragansett Bay Area A

PROVIDENCE The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is announcing that earlier today, a disruption in the wastewater treatment process at the East Providence wastewater treatment facility (WWTF) forced the closure of shellfish harvesting in Upper Narragansett Bay Conditional Area A. Upper Bay Area A includes the waters north of a line from the pier at Rocky Point in Warwick to the pier at Colt State Park in Bristol.

This closure was enacted at 9 AM after the City of East Providence WWTF reported a treatment process upset resulting from an emergency repair of facility equipment. The disruption affected the facility's treatment process, which resulted in the discharge of partially treated wastewater to the Providence River. As of this morning, emergency repairs have been completed and the facility is returning to normal operations. DEM is continuing to monitor the status of the facility as well as results of bacteria samples. Further DEM investigation will follow.

DEM works closely with WWTF operators to protect public health and the water quality of shellfish growing waters. The closure will continue until the WWTF returns to normal operation and the water quality of the Upper Bay can support safe shellfish harvest.

Rhode Island shellfish are much sought-after seafood because of a long history of delivering a high-quality product. This is achieved by diligent monitoring of shellfish harvesting waters, protecting public health with a high level of oversight when conditions indicate a change in water quality either from natural sources such as algae blooms or by the quick response to emergency conditions. DEM, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), and the RI Coastal Resources Management Council, along with industry partners, collaborate to ensure that shellfish grown and harvested from Rhode Island waters continues to be a quality safe seafood product to be enjoyed by all consumers.

For more information on the shellfish harvesting classifications, review the annual notice available at RIDEM - Shellfish. An interactive shellfishing map is also available.

For information on emergency and conditional area water quality-related shellfish closures, call DEM's 24-hour shell fishing hotline at 401-222-2900, visit, or sign up for the Office of Water Resources' listserv here:

For information about DEM programs and services, visit Follow us on Facebook at or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.

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  • Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management
  • Online:
  • Release date: 09-16-2021

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