Bypass Pipe Stops Sewage Discharge into Nantucket Harbor

NANTUCKET – Town officials on Nantucket say significant progress has been made after last week’s major sewer line failure.

The discharge of sewage into Nantucket Harbor from the failure at the intersection of South Beach and Broad Streets has been stopped.

The new bypass valve at the Sea Street Pump Station was activated and the flow of sewage has been contained to functioning pipes.

“We were able to hook into our other portion of our sewer system and get all of our wastewater back out to our treatment facility to get it treated,” said Jeff Carlson, the Natural Resources Coordinator on Nantucket.

The Sewer Department will continue to monitor the bypass valve and also excavated a valve on Surfside Road to ensure there was no backflow to the South Beach Street area.

As a precaution, the temporary discharge and collection system behind the Nantucket Yacht Club will remain functional but is not currently being used.

“The good news is we’ve been able to start really evaluating getting a cleanup plan together and we are hoping to start cleanup in some of our affected areas,” Carlson said.

Clean Harbors, Inc. arrived on the island Monday to create a cleanup and decontamination plan which will meet Town and Department of Environmental Protection standards.

The plan will be reviewed Wednesday morning during a public information session for residents and businesses in the affected area. The meeting is at 10:30 a.m. at the Public Safety Facility at Fairgrounds Road.

Work will continue to determine of cause of the failure and further progress on repairs.

“It looks like we have multiple breaks probably within South Beach Street but again we haven’t really even begun an evaluation of the failure,” Carlson said. “Our focus has been completely on the discharge and preventing discharge and getting the system back to functioning.”

Carlson said they will start to evaluation into what the problem was Tuesday and Wednesday.

Once determined, the cause will be released to the public.

Street and parking restrictions remain in place around downtown until further notice. Town officials also ask the public to refrain from visiting the site to allow construction crews to work without interruption and to avoid spreading the sewage material outside of the affected area.

The fishery still remains closed to shell fishing with the exception of harvesting of adductor muscles from sea or bay scallops. The shellfishing closures will remain in place until repairs are completed and the town, DEP, Division of Marine Fisheries and the Department of Public Health can evaluate the conditions.

The town continues to ask residents to limit water use as much as possible to limit the volume of activity, but all sewer and water service remains unaffected.

Carlson says it was a town-wide effort between departments and the community to stop the discharge and thanked the contractor, Robert B. Our Company.

“We had people who were just showing up to the job site and bringing people donuts and sandwiches,” Carlson said. “It was an island-wide effort to really make this happen.”

He said it was awesome to see the community come together.


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