8M Gallons of Waste Spills Into Massachusetts River - NBC10 Boston
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

8M Gallons of Waste Spills Into Massachusetts River

Exposure to sewage can cause diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain, according to the CDC

Find NBC Boston in your area

Channel 10 on most providers

Channel 15, 60 and 8 Over the Air



    8M Gallons of Waste Spills Into Merrimack River

    North Andover Town Manager Andrew Maylor said Tuesday a pump failed to move waste into the treatment plant because of the power outage. That allowed waste to back up and flow in the river.

    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017)

    A sewage treatment plant in North Andover, Massachusetts, spilled 8 million gallons of waste into the Merrimack River Monday after power went out during a heavy storm. 

    For 13 hours, power was out at the Greater Lawrence Sanitary District. 

    According to Newburyport Mayor Donna Holaday, in that time, the sewage overflowed into the Merrimack River in what the Environmental Protection Agency calls an "unexpected release." 

    The EPA and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection are investigating. 

    Ky. High School 'Adulting Class' Teaches 'Real World' Skills

    [NATL] 'Adulting Class' Teaches Kentucky High Schoolers 'Real World' Skills

    A high school in Kentucky held an “Adulting Day” to teach some seniors “real world” skills like balancing a check book and dorm room cooking.

    (Published Monday, Dec. 17, 2018)

    "This is a major health threat that needs to be looked into, but we need to look at the causes," said Rusty Russell, executive director of the Merrimack River Watershed Council. 

    Exposure to sewage can cause diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    There is no drinking water intakes from the river below the area of the spill. Therefore, no impacts to drinking water are expected. 

    In a letter written by the Sanitary District's Executive Director Cheri Cousins to its board of commissioners, Cousins said they lost power early Monday morning as a result of a wind and rain storm. 

    The facility gets their power from two separate power sources, so they have backup power if one source goes down. In this case, both were out. 

    "I think every sanitary district in the country should have a backup generator," Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini said. "There's always going to be power outages. One-hundred-year storms seem to happen every two-three years now and that's what happens." 

    Explosion at Japanese Pub Injures Over 40 People

    [NATL] Explosion at Japanese Pub Injures Over 40 People

    The explosion happened in the Northern Japanesse city of Sapporo Sunday evening.

    (Published Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018)

    An on-site generator started automatically at the Treatment Facility, according to Cousins, but only gave a "preliminary treatment" to the sewage before it went into the river. 

    The facility is set to add two generators in the next year that would eliminate its need for power from the grid. 

    Russell said the river will naturally wash the sewage out to the ocean, but it could take days. 

    "The standard learning is it that it takes up to 72 hours," said Russell. "It can happen faster in a fast moving river, but this river has a lot of territory to cover." 

    Get the latest from NBC Boston anywhere, anytime:


    Download our FREE app for iPhone, iPad and Android. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and sign up for our e-mail newsletters.