LOWELL, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A massive sewage discharge poured into the Merrimack River over the course of 12 hours in late April, amid heavy rain.
84 million gallons of raw sewage escaped into the the river in total during a storm on April 29. The Merrimack River Watershed Council said unfortunately, that's not an uncommon occurrence.
"It's a health concern for people. We hear all kinds of stories about people getting sick who swim or have contact with the river," said John Macone, Policy Specialist with the organization.
800 million gallons of raw sewage were released into the river last year alone.
Macone said the municipal sewer systems that control the sewage were never built right in the first place, and are just beginning to get fixed now. But in Lowell, for example, those repairs could take a decade or even two to be finished.
A recent law signed by Governor Charlie Baker would make sewage plants warn the public when a sewage overflow happens. That law will take effect this summer.
WBZ's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports: