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EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) said that around 10 million gallons of partly treated wastewater was released into Mount Hope Bay Sunday morning. 

According to the DEM, the main circuit breaker at Fall River’s wastewater treatment facility shorted around midnight, causing the wastewater to bypass the plant’s pumps.  

As a result, around 10 million gallons of wastewater leaked into Mount Hope Bay, prompting a precautionary closure of the Rhode Island section of the bay and the Kickemuit River, the DEM said. 

The closure went into effect at noon Sunday. The DEM has not yet said when both waterways will reopen. 

The circuit breaker that shorted was reset around 11:00 a.m. Sunday and the wastewater treatment facility returned to normal operations, according to the DEM. 

The DEM said they do not expect any additional shellfish closures beyond Growing Areas (GA) GA17 and GA5.  

Map shows the two Growing Areas that were closed at noon Sunday (Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management)

For more information on emergency and conditional area water quality related shellfish closures, call DEM’s 24-hour shell fishing hotline at 401-222-2900.

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