Public Health Warning Issued Due to Sewage Overflow in Merrimack River

Health officials are recommending the public avoid contact with the Merrimack River for 48 hours

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The city of Newburyport is recommending that residents avoid contact with the Merrimack River for the next two days following prolonged sewage overflows early Tuesday morning upstream in Haverhill, Lawrence and Lowell.

"The Newburyport Health Department recommends that the public avoid contact with the Merrimack River for 48 hours following a sewage discharge or overflow due to the increased health risks from bacteria and other pollutants associated with urban stormwater runoff and discharges of untreated or partially treated wastewater," the city said in an advisory Tuesday.



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The combined sewer overflows reportedly occurred in Haverhill starting at 12:30 a.m., in Lawrence at 1:50 a.m. and in Lowell at 1:10 a.m.

The overflows contain stormwater, untreated or partially treated human and industrial waste and debris, which makes the river unsafe, Newburyport officials said. They are recommending that the public, including all pets, avoid contact with he river due to increased health risks from "bacteria and other pollutants."

Temporary warning signs are being posted along Merrimack River public access points, including Moseley Woods, Cashman Park, Joppa Flats and Plum Island.

The city's Health Department will be conducting water testing to ensure the public's safety.

Updates will be posted on the city's website, and anyone with questions is encouraged to call the Health Department at 978-465-4410.

No further information was immediately available.

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