To the editor:

In the Sept. 3 article on sewage overflow, Richard Hogan (the executive director of the Greater Lawrence Sanitary Wastewater Plant) was quoted as saying: "I do not believe that there are any bathing beaches on the Merrimack River."

It sounds like this was a comment to minimize the effect of the pollution of the Merrimack River from the effects of Tropical Storm Irene and the release of untreated/undertreated sewage from upriver sewage facilities. I would suggest that Mr. Hogan come down river sometime and see the swimming beaches in the Plum Island basin, the Salisbury State Reservation Beachfront along the river from the Toothpick to the north jetty, the beaches along the river on Plum Island from the Point to the south jetty and the boaters beach in the middle of the river at low tide (known as the Hump Sands).

As an owner of one of these properties on the beach, I can tell you that the pollution from upriver had a dramatic impact on everyone's Labor Day weekend. No one was in the water and very few were on the water and many businesses lost their Labor Day customers.

Just as in the spring release of filters from the Hooksett sewage plant, upstream plant managers need to aware of the impact of what they are doing to communities downstream and take every step possible to eliminate or minimize their impact. Also, the communication between responsible officials and people who may be impacted needs to be greatly improved.

Bill Cooper

Plum Island

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