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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | Personals | Yellow Pages  November 24, 2003
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Mass., R.I. say no environmental damage so far from sewage spill
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(AP) -- Regulators in Massachusetts and Rhode Island do not expect major environmental damage from a wastewater treatment plant�s release of untreated sewage into the Blackstone River.

Scientists from environmental agencies in both states were taking water samples on Friday along the 46-mile river, which runs from Worcester to Pawtucket.

Rhode Island officials surveyed the release from a helicopter.  They saw ďż˝discolorationďż˝ in the water in the Grafton and Millbury, Mass. areas, said Jan Reitsma, director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

About 2 million gallons of untreated sewage was discharged Thursday into the Blackstone, just south of Worcester, according to environmental officials in both states.

A power failure caused the spill from the Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District treatment facility. There was a buildup of untreated wastewater that could no longer be contained in storage lagoons. The release lasted for about two hours, at which time the plant was able to at least partially treat the waste, Reitsma said.

Rhode Island officials �don�t expect a significant impact on the ecosystem,� Reitsma said. Massachusetts officials echoed that assessment, adding no fish kills or other aquatic or wildlife deaths had been reported. But they did urge the public to avoid contact with the Blackstone, including boating or kayaking.

Reitsma believes the effluent has reached Rhode Island, but said that would be confirmed when water test results were available.

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