Local

Sewage Overflow Closes Wareham Beaches

By Ken MacLeod, WBZ-TV
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WAREHAM (CBS) – As the sun sank at Onset Beach in Wareham Monday night, two barefooted ladies frolicked in the gentle surf. That was just before a WBZ-TV reporter informed them about this morning’s sewage spill.

“I’m gonna scrub my feet,” says Chloe Christensen. “It doesn’t seem gross – but I’m regretting it.”

Apparently not everyone got the message – despite several flashing signs around town.

More than a dozen beaches and shellfish beds are closed in Wareham – including Point Independence, Onset Beach, Shell Point, North Boulevard, East Boulevard, Sunset Cove, Agawam Beach, Riverside, Broad Cove, Muddy Cove, Wickets Island, Onset Island, and Sias Point.

Workers spent a chunk of the day trying to stop more nasty stuff from getting into the sea, after someone spotted raw sewage gushing from a manhole on Independence Lane this morning.

It took almost two and half hours to shut down the malfunctioning valve that triggered the overflow – as the sewage spewed into the harbor.

The Harbormaster estimates up to 4000 gallons got away, forcing officials to close surrounding beaches as a precaution – pending water testing by the Wareham Board of Health in the morning.

“If there’s no bacteria at that time,” says Guy Campinha, the town’s Director of Pollution Control. “They may or may not open those beaches immediately. Our goal is to get them open as soon as we can.”

A small boom remains in place to contain any further runoff from the troublesome pipe. But beyond the virtually empty beaches, the ocean did not show any obvious signs of distress.

“I wasn’t smelling anything,” says Wareham resident David Green. “I know a lot of other people didn’t smell anything either. But they certainly wanted to stay out of the water.”

Those two barefoot ladies only wish a warning had reached them sooner. “Not cool,” says Alicia Potenza with a smile. “I’m gonna go take a shower.”

If Tuesday’s bacteria test is clean – keeping in mind results take 24 hours – beaches could re-open as early as Wednesday or Thursday. But the shellfish beds will likely remain off-limits for a week or so.

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