DEM ANNOUNCES EMERGENCY SHELLFISH CLOSURE IN BRISTOL HARBOR
RI Department of Environmental Management
235 Promenade St., Providence, RI 02908
(401) 222-2771 www.dem.ri.gov
For Release: March 16, 2015
Contact: Town of Bristol: Jose DaSilva, 401-253-8877
DEM: Gail Mastrati 401-222-4700 Ext. 2402; or
Cindy Hannus, 401-222-4700 Ext. 7241
DEM ANNOUNCES EMERGENCY SHELLFISH CLOSURE IN BRISTOL HARBOR BEGINNING SUNRISE TUESDAY, MARCH 17 DUE TO REPORTED SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT DISINFECTION MALFUNCTION
PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management has announced that in addition to currently Prohibited waters within Bristol Harbor and surrounding Hog Island, the remaining waters of Bristol Harbor and in the vicinity of Hog Island (see attached map) will be closed to shellfish harvesting beginning at sunrise Tuesday, March 17, until further notice. The closure is being enacted because of information provided to DEM by the Town of Bristol of a lack of disinfection that resulted in elevated bacteria levels in plant effluent. A town official notified DEM this morning of the issue and it is being investigated.
The Bristol Harbor Master will collect water samples in Bristol Harbor on Tuesday to test for fecal coliform bacteria levels. The DEM will make a determination on the duration of the closure based upon the Department’s review of those sample results.
Specifically, all waters North and East of a line from the Southern tip of Poppasquash Point, Bristol to the Southwestern extremity of Arnold Point in Portsmouth, where a DEM range marker has been established, will be closed to shellfish harvesting beginning at sunrise on March 17, until further notice. Refer to the attached map as reference.
In addition, to accommodate previously scheduled delivery of oyster seed, all aquaculturists in areas where the emergency shellfish closures have been enacted will be allowed access to their leases for the purposes of preparing for and planting the oyster seed. All other activities on the aquaculture lease, including but not limited to the harvest of shellfish, will remain prohibited until the water quality is acceptable to allow for harvest.
Aquaculturists seeking permission to prepare for or plant seed under this emergency authorization are required to contact Dave Beutel, CRMC’s aquaculture coordinator at 401-783-7587.
A DEM investigation of the failure is underway. The facility is currently operating normally. For more information on the plant disinfection failure, contact the Bristol Wastewater Treatment Facility superintendent, Jose DaSilva, at 401-253-8877.
For more information about the shellfish closure, contact Cindy Hannus in DEM’s Office of Water Resources at 401-222-4700, Ext. 7241.
DEM maintains a 24-hour shellfishing hotline with recorded updated information on shellfish closure areas. That number is 222-2900.
To see the official press release, please click here.