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Sewage leak stopped, Westport beaches to stay closed Monday out of ‘an abundance of caution’

FILE: Sherwood Island State Park, Westport (CT DEEP)

WESTPORT – Westport beaches, including Sherwood Island State Park,  will remain off-limits Monday, after a sewage leak into the Saugatuck River was discovered Saturday afternoon. Town officials say they’ve stopped the leak, but the closures remain due to ‘an abundance of caution’.

The closures are the result of leaking sewage pipe under the Saugatuck River, discovered Saturday about 1:30 p.m., the area of the I-95 overpass over the river.

Multiple organizations and departments responded to the leak. The Sewer Department shut down pumps to the pipe and multiple vacuum trucks were used to move 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.

In a Saturday press release from the Westport Fire Department, First Selectman Jim Marpe and Public Works Director Peter Ratkiewich announced that leaked had been completely stopped by 8:30 Saturday night.

On Saturday, Marpe said they had flagged the pipe for replacement three years ago and ‘were very close to completion’. Temporary pumps have been put in place to utilize newly installed pipe that had not yet been connected. The temporary set up will be in place until the permanent pumps are installed next month.

Town officials say area beaches will remain closed for swimming until tests verify that the water is safe. Testing is currently scheduled for Monday.

Marpe said “We appreciate the cooperation of our residents and visitors not using the beaches for swimming until we receive the all-clear from the [Weston-Westport] Health District and DEEP.”

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