Merrimack River

necn Investigates: Merrimack River Cleanup Continues

Seventy-three cars have now been pulled from the source of drinking water for over 600,000 people

The Merrimack River is a bit cleaner, as more cars have been pulled out of the watery graveyard.  

Seventy-three cars have now been pulled from the Merrimack, which is important considering the river is a major source of drinking water for over 600,000 people.

Cars marked with huge spray paint numbers of 71, 72 and 73 were all pulled out Monday from behind the Boys and Girls Club in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Many of the cars, stolen or ditched due to insurance fraud, have been down in the murky water for decades.

The cars pulled Monday included a Jeep, Mitsubishi and Firebird from the '90s. During our necn investigation, our cameras have documented keys still left in the ignition and found decades later the cars are still burping oil and gas into the environment.

It’s a team of divers and volunteers from Clean River Project cleaning up the river near Lawrence, Methuen and Haverhill. Monday was a big step forward as they brought in huge boulders to block any more cars from being slipped into hiding in the river.

In August, necn Investigates first walked the banks of the river with Clean River Project founder Rocky Morrison. The group was about to shut down then due to lack of funding.

necn's investigation questioned why a nonprofit made up of volunteers was tasked with cleaning out an environmental mess in the area's drinking water.

After our story aired and Morrison parked boats on street corners asking for help, funding came through from viewers.

Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera and Congresswoman Nikki Tsongas also pledged support.

Morrison said there are more cars beneath the surface of the water, as Lawrence was once the car theft capital of the world. He hopes to pull 10 more cars soon.

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