HOOKSETT, N.H. (AP) – Thousands of small plastics disks from a Hooksett, N.H., sewage treatment plant are washing up on the sea shore in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, prompting health officials to close beaches in the two states.

WBZ-TV’s Joe Shortsleeve reports from Plum Island

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The disks are about twice the diameter of a quarter and have a screen mesh on them. Officials say the disks are intended to collect bacteria and help to digest the waste-water.

Clean-up is proving to be a mammoth task. Crews are picking up each of the thousands of disks by hand.

The disks have washed up on beaches in Hampton and Seabrook as well as in Massachusetts along Plum Island, Salisbury Beach and all along the Merrimack River.

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The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Service says the disks washed out of the Hooksett sewage treatment plant last week because of overflow from a rain storm.

“These disks came from a waste-water treatment facility located in central New Hampshire that discharges to the Merrimack River,” environmental officials said in a release.

People are advised not to handle the disks without protective gloves because “they may contain bacteria.”

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