The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) today announced that it will extend the emergency shellfishing closure of Upper Narragansett Bay Conditional Area A — which was previously closed after extreme rainfall Sept. 5-6 and scheduled to reopen Sept. 16 — until further notice. Any harvesting of shellfish in this area is prohibited indefinitely.

The cause of the closure extension is a rupture of a 24-inch sewer line on Lake Shore Drive in Warwick, resulting in the discharge of sewage to Warwick Pond. DEM first became aware of the discharge Sept. 12 at 8 PM. As of 10 AM today, the Warwick Sewer Authority was working to install temporary bypass pumping and estimates that around 450,000 gallons had overflowed to Warwick Pond. The discharge is ongoing.

As a precaution, DEM and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) are advising residents to temporarily refrain from both primary contact recreational water activities (wading, swimming) and secondary contact activities (canoeing, kayaking, rowing, and fishing) on Warwick Pond, Buckeye Brook, Mill Creek, and Mill Cove and to avoid consuming any fish from these waters (see map above) until further notice. Swimming in any area currently under the extended emergency shellfish closure is not recommended.

For information on emergency and conditional area water quality related shellfish closures, call DEM’s 24-hour shell fishing hotline at 401-222-2900, visit www.dem.ri.gov/shellfish, or sign up for the Office of Water Resources’ listserv here: RishellfishOWR-subscribe@listserve.ri.gov.

For more information about DEM divisions and programs, visit www.dem.ri.gov.

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