WESTPORT — A sewage leak shut down the Westport beaches, including Sherwood Island State Park, Saturday afternoon.
Early in the afternoon, as the Westport Fire Department was training on the Saugatuck River, they were told by a person in the area that there was a sewage leak.
Firefighters responded and found that the sewage was flowing up from under the river to the surface. The leak was in the area of the I-95 overpass.
Multiple organizations and departments responded to the leak. The Sewer Department ensured that the pumps were immediately shut down and that multiple vacuum trucks were called to manually move the sewage across the river to the treatment plant.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection shut down Sherwood Island State Park and local beaches were closed to swimmers.
As of 6:30 p.m., there was still a controlled leak with additional pumping vehicles on their way, said firefighters.
Beaches will remain closed for swimming until tests verify that the water is safe to swim. Testing is currently scheduled for Monday.
Aquarion Water was contacted by the Town of Westport and advised town officials that there was no cause for concern regarding public wells being contaminated.
Town officials said that they were in the process of replacing the old aging pipe before it became a problem.
Selectman Marpe was quoted as saying, “We identified the need to replace the current sewer pipe three years ago and were very close to completion. My thanks go out to the town and state departments in their prompt and appropriate response to the incident”.
A new pipe has already been run under the riverbed and the pumps were being installed. The whole process will be sped up in response to the leak.