Caution tape is draped over a side entrance to East End Beach on Sunday. The beach was closed Sunday afternoon because of a discharge from the nearby waste treatment plant. The beach will remain closed until the water is determined to be safe. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

East End Beach in Portland remained closed Monday as city officials awaited results of water contamination tests following a malfunction Sunday morning at the East End Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The malfunction caused an undetermined amount of wastewater to discharge into Casco Bay. The popular beach was closed because of possible contamination starting Sunday.

The city expected to receive test results by Tuesday afternoon and will then make a determination about when the beach will reopen, a city spokesperson said.

The discharge happened after a Central Maine Power line that feeds electricity to the plant shut off around 8:15 a.m. Sunday. A backup generator at the plant failed, said Scott Firmin, director of the wastewater treatment plant.

Firmin said the initial power outage was due to a failure in a splice in a line maintained by CMP. The power company repaired that issue within hours on Sunday.

On Monday, a generator service company determined the plant’s generator failed because several bolts inside of it had come loose. That generator will be repaired this week and a rented generator brought in Sunday will remain at the plant in case it is needed, Firmin said.

Firmin does not yet know the volume of wastewater discharged because the power outage affected the plant’s computer system. The flow volume is expected to be included in a report about the incident that Firmin will file with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection by Friday.

The Portland Water District owns and operates the treatment plant, which serves 60,000 people and handles an average of 20 million gallons of water each day. The water district says its facility, just to the west of the Interstate 295 bridge between East Deering and Munjoy Hill, is the state’s largest.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: