Fall River Wastewater Pump Fails

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 @ 10:03 AM gHale

A failed pump allowed 600,000 gallons of non-disinfected effluent to discharge last Wednesday morning from the Fall River, MA, Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility, said Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management officials.

A pump that feeds bleach to the wastewater on the last step of the process failed between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., said Terry Sullivan, administrator of community utilities. The fluid had gone through 99 percent of the process, according the Sullivan.

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It subsequently closed areas of Mount Hope Bay and the Kickemuit River to shellfishing.

Technicians were able to reboot the computer system to restart the pumps and doubled safeguards for the future, said Sullivan.

To put 600,000 gallons in perspective: The typical septic service truck that vacuums waste out of septic tanks holds 3,000 gallons.

In 2010, a pump station malfunction spilled 2.5 million gallons of raw sewage into Mount Hope Bay.

DEM plans to reopen the conditionally approved areas of Mount Hope Bay and the Kickemuit River to shellfishing at sunrise on Thursday, March 5, weather permitting.

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