, Newburyport, MA

Local News

October 27, 2012

Did you smell that smell?

Power-washing boat hulls had downtown Port in a stink

NEWBURYPORT — An odd smell lingered over a significant portion of Newburyport yesterday morning, and a probe by the city’s health director discovered the unusual cause.

The smell — variously described as a burning or garbage-like stench — was caused by power-washing boats at a local marina, according to Bob Bracey, director of health services. As complaints about the smell percolated into City Hall and elsewhere yesterday morning, Mayor Donna Holaday dispatched Bracey to track it down.

Bracey walked all along the downtown waterfront, inspected Dumpsters, and walked part of the rail trail, using his nose as a guide. He tracked the smell to Hilton’s boatyard, located about halfway between Michael’s Harborside restaurant and the Black Cow restaurant.

Bracey said the health department issued an order to the marina to neutralize the smell and to comply with environmental protection laws regarding proper methods of power-washing, paint scraping, and the proper disposal of power-washing water. The city considered the incident to be a public nuisance.

Many boats are being removed from the water this week, as boaters prepare for Hurricane Sandy. Boats that stay in the water throughout the summer normally have their hulls power-washed or scraped as soon as they are removed from the water. Boats accumulate a variety of growths on their hulls — such as barnacles and seaweed — that should be removed before the boat goes into winter storage. Otherwise, the material dries onto the hull and can become very difficult to get off. If left on, the growths cause long-term damage to the hull and make the boat more sluggish in the water.

Bracey said the health department, harbormaster and sewer department will work together to routinely inspect the city’s marinas, and will work with them to ensure that they are following environmental regulations.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale CDC Addresses Lab Safety Problems Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues LeBron James Says He's Returning to Cavaliers Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande World Cup Final Pits Argentina Against Germany Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Thousands Attend NYC Firefighter's Funeral Art of Haitian Machete Fighting Revived Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Mass. Mayor: Families Lost Everything in Fire Fans Dying to Be Near Jazz Greats Robots Gearing Up for Their Own 'World Cup'
Special Features