Public health warning issued related to sewage discharge in Boston, officials say

BOSTON — Boston public health officials are advising residents to avoid affected water bodies in parts of the city for 48 hours due to increased health risks from bacteria and other pollutants after a recent sewage discharge.

The public health warning was issued Sunday morning regarding untreated overflows at Porter Street in East Boston, in the Fort Point Channel at Albany Street, and in the Upper Inner Harbor, upstream of the North Washington Street Bridge.

The latest untreated overflow in these areas ended at 3:25 a.m. Sunday, however the public is advised to avoid affected water bodies for 48 hours, officials said in a statement Sunday.

“This event may potentially affect waters in Boston Inner Harbor,” the public health warning stated.

The public is advised to avoid contact with affected water bodies for at least 48 hours after a sewage discharge or overflow, during rainstorms, and for 48 hours after rainstorms end, due to increased health risks from bacteria or other pollutants associated with urban stormwater runoff and discharges of untreated or partially treated wastewater.

State regulations require local public health departments to provide notice to the public when these discharges may create a risk to public health, including when a discharge lasts for more than two hours.

For more information, check the Boston Water and Sewer Commission website here for updates about this discharge and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority website here for current updates about potential discharges.

A combined sewer overflow occurs when a large storm overwhelms the combined sewerage system causing rainwater to mix with wastewater and discharge to a nearby water body. This prevents sewage backups into homes and businesses.

More information about CSOs and public health is available at www.boston.gov/cso.

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