Officials report no damage during planned maintenance operation
By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
Two MWRA maintenance workers at Deer Island were taken to the hospital Tuesday morning, after they were accidentally sprayed with raw sewerage, when a sludge pipeline they were working on burst during a planned maintenance procedure at the plant.
The accident took place shortly after 11 a.m.
According to MWRA spokesperson Ria Convery, the two workers were decontaminated on site, before being sent to the hospital for precautionary reasons and the spill and burst pipeline were cleaned up and fixed in about two hours.
There was no interruption to sewer service and no damage to the plant was reported.
“The reality is that one of the secondary tanks had been emptied out for some planned, scheduled maintenance. There was evidently some back pressure built up in the line and the valve they were working on let go,” said Convery. “The workers were sprayed with sludge, but they were decontaminated on site, before being sent to the hospital.”
Convery said the workers were forced to wait in line at the hospital emergency room, which they reportedly took as a good sign.
“About one-hundred gallons of sludge was released, but it was into a contained area that is built to store the material, so there was danger to any other part of the plant,” Convery added.
Immediately following the incident an emergency call had indicated that there may have been an explosion with hazardous material, but Convery said that report was wrong.
“There was a small evacuation in that part of the plant, but the workers were all sent back to their posts within the hour,” she added.