Don’t swim in the Merrimack River for at least the next 2 days, officials say


Several towns near Newburyport reported sewage overflows into the river this morning.

The Newburyport Health Department recommends that no one interact with the Merrimack River for at least the next two days. (Globe staff photo/Jim Davis)

The Newburyport Health Department is warning the public to stay out of the Merrimack River for at least the next two days due to multiple sewer overflows upstream.

On Tuesday, the Department of Health said, the towns of Lawrence, Lowell and Haverhill reported sewer overflows into the river early in the morning.

These overflows contain stormwater, untreated or partially treated human and industrial waste, toxic materials and debris, he said, and have made the river unsafe for human and animal contact.

The Department of Health recommends that people and their pets avoid contact with the Merrimack River for at least the next 48 hours due to increased health risks from bacteria and other pollutants.

The Department of Health clarified that the town of Newburyport does not use the Merrimack River as a source of drinking water and that residents need not worry about water coming from their taps.

Temporary warning signs will be posted along public access points to the Merrimack River, including Moseley Woods, Cashman Park, Harbormaster, Joppa Flats and Plum Island, the Department of Health said.

The health department said it would conduct water tests in conjunction with the harbor master and other city departments to ensure public safety.

Updates on this will be posted on the City’s website. Those with specific questions are asked to contact the Department of Health at 978-465-4410.


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