Statement: Sewage disclosure bill an important step toward cleaner rivers and beaches

Environment Massachusetts

BOSTON – Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill yesterday requiring public notification when sewage is discharged into rivers and coastal waters.

Ben Hellerstein, Environment Massachusetts State Director, issued the following statement:

“With this bill, Massachusetts is taking a big step toward a future where all of our rivers and beaches are safe for swimming, all of the time. Thank you to Gov. Baker for signing this bill into law; to state Reps. Linda Dean Campbell and Denise Provost and state Sen. Patricia Jehlen for championing this important legislation; and to Mass Rivers Alliance and many allies who campaigned for this policy.

Despite significant progress, too many of our rivers and beaches are still polluted. Our report, Safe for Swimming, found that 257 beaches in Massachusetts experienced at least one day in 2019 with potentially unsafe levels of fecal bacteria. Antiquated sewer systems are one big source of this pollution, along with runoff from roads and parking lots.

We can and must do a better job of keeping waste out of our water. This bill will ensure the public’s right to know about sewage pollution in our waterways. We believe that more awareness of the problem will lead to more action on solutions.

Now that Massachusetts is shining a light on pollution in our waterways, let’s improve our water infrastructure to end these sewage discharges once and for all. With the right investments, a cleaner, healthier, pollution-free future is within reach.”