DEM Notified of Another Sewage Discharge by Woonsocket Treatment Plant; Issues No-Contact Advisory for Blackstone

Published on Thursday, March 02, 2023

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is investigating another discharge of partly treated wastewater from the Woonsocket Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, located at 11 Cumberland Hill Road in Woonsocket. DEM first learned of the incident from a post on Twitter by a constituent earlier today. Currently, the discharge is ongoing.

As a precaution, DEM is advising the public 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 the river from the location of the discharge, at Cumberland Hill Road in Woonsocket, to the Slater Mill Dam in Pawtucket (see map). This advisory is in effect until further notice.

The treatment plant, operated by the private contractor Jacobs, treats about 10 million gallons of sewage daily. Along with a series of unpermitted discharges between March and June of 2022, DEM is investigating the cause of this loss of treatment and monitoring steps being taken by the city and its contract operator to ensure a return to permit compliance.