NORTH ANDOVER (CBS) — Eight million gallons of raw sewerage went into the Merrimack River after Sunday’s storm cut off power to a nearby sewerage treatment plant.
The Greater Lawrence Sanitary District Wastewater Treatment Facility and its pumping station were shut down for 13 hours.
” You got all these cities, New Hampshire and everybody else pumping to that location, you would think there would be something putting up backups on this so this wouldn’t happen,” said Rocky Morrison, who’s been trying to clean up the river for years.
Morrison feared the marshes down the river would be damaged from the sewage.
“The problem is the marshes down there, a lot of your plastics, your applicators, condoms, stuff like that has been released. All of the sewage is going to end up in the marshes and the sensitive areas where the bird sanctuaries are,” he said.
Officials at the treatment facility are now installing two new backup generators at the pumping station. But some say more needs to be done.
“We should rethink our way of doing things,” said Andrew Maylor, the Town Manager for North Andover. “Solutions we’ve used in the past may not be working moving forward. So I think that it’s natural, in these kinds of events, with the environmental impact and quite frankly, the broader community impact, that we’d look at things in a different way.
Officials don’t think any long-term environmental problems were created by the discharge and the sewage has now dissipated.
About 600,000 people rely on the Merrimack for their drinking water.