Sewage leak near school closes Westport beaches

WESTPORT — For the second time in as many weeks, Westporters are being told to stay out of town waters due to sewage.

The Westport Fire Department announced in a statement Wednesday afternoon that all beaches in town are closed for swimming due to a sewage leak near Saugatuck Elementary School.

At 9:29 a.m. the fire department was notified sewage was coming up from a manhole in front of the school on Riverside Avenue.

“In an abundance of caution and to protect public health and safety, the Westport-Weston Health District closed the beaches for swimming until further testing can be done. For public safety, it is advisable to suspend river activities as well,” the statement read.

The Sewer Department is working to fix the problem. Meanwhile, all relevant parties — Public Works Department, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Conservation Department, Marine Police and businesses abutting the Saugatuck River — were notified, according to fire officials.

The announcement noted this sewer is separate from, and the resulting discharge is significantly smaller, than last week’s sewer leakage event.

Sewage leaked into the Saugatuck River by the Interstate 95 overpass on Aug. 3 while an aging pipe was being replaced.

The leak was stopped by 8:30 p.m. that day, while temporary pumps were installed for the new pipe. Permanent pumps will be installed next month. Westport, Fairfield and Norwalk closed most of their waters and beaches to swimming at the time, while health officials sent water samples to the state lab for testing.

Westport beaches reopened for swimming on Aug. 6 following test results indicating acceptable water quality.