Health Alert: Do Not Drink, Swim in, or Use Hoosic River Water

For immediate release: July 5, 2002

Contact: Nancy Erickson
Vermont Department of Health

BURLINGTON, VT—The Vermont Department of Health is issuing a health alert to residents and visitors to the Hoosic River area: Do not swim in, fish in, draw drinking or irrigation water from, or otherwise use water from the Hoosic River.

The Hoosic River runs from Massachusetts through the southwest corner of the state for a few miles before it enters New York State.

The Health Department learned today that on July 2 the Curtis Fine Paper Company in Adams, Massachusetts discharged an undetermined volume of three red dyes into the municipal sanitary sewer system, which was then discharged from the Adams wastewater treatment plant into the Hoosic River. According to a report in the Bennington Banner today, the river was running red in Pownal, Vermont on the afternoon of July 4.

This health alert is being made as a precaution, until further information is known about the health effects from the dyes.

Two of the dyes are listed as non-hazardous by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Further information is being sought about the third dye. Officials in Massachusetts, New York State and Vermont are investigating the spill and the chemical composition of the red dyes involved.