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DEM Notified of Partly Treated Sewage Discharge into the Blackstone River from the Woonsocket Treatment Plant

RHODE ISLAND, June 5 - PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is investigating the discharge of partly treated wastewater from the Woonsocket Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility located at 11 Cumberland Hill Road in Woonsocket. DEM was first made aware of the discharge on the morning of June 5. The discharge is currently ongoing.

As a precaution, DEM is advising residents to temporarily refrain from both primary contact recreational water activities (wading, swimming) and secondary contact activities (canoeing, kayaking, rowing, and fishing) and to avoid consuming any fish from the river from the location of the discharge, at Cumberland Hill Road in Woonsocket, to the Slater Mill Dam in Pawtucket (see map above). This advisory is in effect until further notice.

The treatment plant, operated by the private contractor Jacobs, treats about 10 million gallons of sewage daily. DEM is investigating the cause of this loss of treatment and monitoring steps being taken by the city and its vendor to ensure a return to permit compliance. DEM issued letters of noncompliance to the facility in November 2021 and March 2022 regarding operations and maintenance concerns.

For more information about DEM divisions and programs, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM), or Instagram (@rhodeisland.dem) for timely updates.