The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management is lifting a no-contact advisory for the Blackstone River between Woonsocket and Pawtucket. The notice was triggered by a discharge of partially-treated wastewater from the Woonsocket Regional Treatment Facility earlier this month. At the same time, the DEM and Attorney General Peter Neronha are announcing that a civil complaint has been filed against the city of Woonsocket and the contractors that operate the plant.
“The discharge of partially treated sewage into the Blackstone River – one of Rhode Island’s treasured natural resources – has gone on long enough. The City, Jacobs, and Synagro have been put on notice by DEM multiple times and have been given ample opportunity to fix this problem. And yet the problem remains unsolved. Accordingly, it has become plain to me that if we do not take the action we are taking today, the Blackstone River and the people of Rhode Island will continue to suffer,” said Attorney General Neronha. “I am extraordinarily grateful to Director Gray and the DEM staff, as they have provided the technical expertise and assistance without which this lawsuit would not be possible. I also remain grateful for our strong partnership as we continue to advocate for and protect Rhode Island’s natural resources and the environment.”
This was the third advisory issued for the sewage discharges by the state in the last year.