PROVIDENCE, RI: The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is announcing that the emergency closure of the western side of Upper Narragansett Bay shellfish Area A is ending at sunrise tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct. 5. The emergency closure was for waters west of a line extending from Conimicut Point south to the extension of Ogden Avenue in Warwick. DEM put it in place after a ruptured sewer line on Lake Shore Drive discharged untreated sewage Sept. 12-14 into Warwick Pond, which flows into Buckeye Brook and ultimately into Mill Cove and Upper Narragansett Bay southwest of Conimicut Point.
Water samples collected by the Warwick Sewer Authority and DEM have shown a decline in bacteria levels to normal levels since the sewer line break was repaired and the discharge to the pond ended on Sept. 14. Therefore, in accordance with DEM procedures and US Food and Drug Administration guidance, DEM is reopening the area 21 days after the sewage spill ended.
Along with reopening Area A to shellfishing, DEM and the Rhode Island Department of Health are lifting the no-contact advisory that they had placed on Warwick Pond, Buckeye Brook, Mill Creek, and Mill Cove on Sept. 13 advising residents to temporarily refrain from both primary contact recreational water activities (wading, swimming) and secondary contact activities (canoeing, kayaking, rowing, and fishing) and to avoid consuming any fish from these waters.
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 www.dem.ri.gov/shellfish, or sign up for the Office of Water Resources' listserv here: RishellfishOWRfirstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about DEM programs and services, visit www.dem.ri.gov. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RhodeIslandDEM or on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) for timely updates.