As Revere residents are forced to pay exorbitant water and sewer bills to clean up Boston Harbor and Revere Beach, the Lynn Water and Sewer Commission (LWSC) continues to dump raw sewage onto Revere’s beaches during heavy rain events.
That situation has existed for some time and is permitted, but just about everyone on Revere’s coast was reminded of that stinking situation last Wednesday when a gigantic super-cell thunderstorm dumped nearly three inches of rain on the area in a few hour’s time.
During that washout, Revere Health Inspector Nick Catinazzo said he was informed that the LWSC had discharged raw sewage into the ocean six times. Catinazzo gets reports each time such a discharge occurs. Lynn is under a different set of rules concerning water and sewer, as it is not a member of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) and its discharges are fully permitted by state and federal environmental agencies – unlike in Revere.
“We finally clean up Deer Island and now we have to deal with Lynn’s stuff every time it rains,” he said. “It’s very frustrating, especially since our Beach is finally back where it needs to be and now this. They had six different discharges that day (July 18th). It was a unique storm definitely, but the situation is still frustrating for us. It’s a big problem.”
Catinazzo said the LWSC started discharging sewage into the ocean waters around 3:01 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18th, and notice came at 7:53 a.m. on Thursday, July 19th, that it had stopped.
So far, there have been no closures of Revere Beach or the Pines Beach due to high bacteria counts from the sewage release. However, at least one resident said he was fed up with the releases from Lynn.
“A friend of mine from out of town visited and ended up developing a high fever after swimming at Revere Beach last week,” said Arthur MacDonald of Beachmont, who is also a Revere Harbormaster. “It was almost certainly caused by the sewage in the water, given the timing and all. In a nutshell, Lynn is still dumping sewage, sometimes raw sewage, into Revere Beach. They pay a yearly fine instead of fixing the problem and hooking up to the new sewage treatment plant at Deer Island. They need to clean up their act. People are getting sick.”
Meanwhile, at Monday’s City Council meeting, Ward 5 Councillor John Powers put in a motion calling on Catinazzo and the City Solicitor to team up in order to see if any action can be taken.
“Last week, the City of Lynn dumped hundreds of thousands of gallons of raw sewage into the Broad Sound,” said Powers. “We all know that comes right down to the Pines and Riverside and Revere Beach. It bothers me that residents of this city pay dearly to clean up Boston Harbor and then a city like Lynn can just dump their raw sewage into the ocean on us. It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Powers called on the City Solicitor to see if there was any remedy in the courts that could prevent such discharges or could potentially require remediation by LWSC each time such an event occurs.
In Lynn, LWSC Executive Director Dan O’Neill said that the scenario of Lynn polluting Revere’s beaches is “far-fetched.”
“The discharge we had was actually one pipe on the Saugus River that discharged for two hours and is more than two miles away from the tip of Revere Beach,” he said. “This is fully permitted and the system worked as it is designed. It discharges during big storms. We got 2.5 inches of rain in a 25-minute period. The discharge occurred over two hours and not 12 hours. If they’re saying that our discharge migrated down there without dissipating and caused some bacterial sickness, I’d say that’s a total reach.”
He also said that another discharge happened at a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) on King’s Beach near the Lynn/Swampscott line. Within 48 hours, the water was tested about 30 feet away from the CSO and it was a clean test.
“That test came up good 30 feet from a pipe that discharged,” he said. “If Revere is suggesting that a two-hour discharge is travelling some two miles to Revere Beach, I suggest they look elsewhere.”