“No Swim” Alert Issued After Wastewater Spill in Burlington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: July 27, 2005

CONTACT: Communication Office
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – A “No Swimming” alert was issued on Wednesday afternoon following a report of a large spill of wastewater, both treated and partially treated from the City of Burlington Main Wastewater Treatment Plant into Lake Champlain.

An estimated 850,000 gallons of effluent was accidentally discharged - approximately 650,000 gallons of treated wastewater and 250,000 gallons partially treated - according to Burlington Public Works officials.

Water samples tests by the City of Burlington are underway and will be shared with the Health Department. The swimming area at Oakledge Park in Burlington has been posted as “Swimming Area Closed” by City of Burlington officials until further notice.

Health officials are also consulting with City of South Burlington officials, who are monitoring water conditions at Red Rocks Beach.

“Untreated effluent does pose a public health risk, especially for young children who tend to get water in their mouths when they swim,” said Dr. Cort Lohff, state epidemiologist for the Vermont Department of Health. “Untreated effluent can contain large amounts of bacteria. The most common symptom that results from exposure is diarrhea. As a result, we have posted alerts until tests reveal that the water is safe.”