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N.H. Town To Pay For Wastewater Disc Cleanup

The town of Hooksett, N.H., will pick up the tab to clean up millions of plastic discs washing up on Massachusetts beaches.

The discs escaped from an overflowing tank at Hooksett's sewage treatment plant in early March.

Residents started discovering the plastic-mesh discs on North Shore beaches six days after an accident at the Hooksett sewage plant caused them to pour into the Merrimack River.

State Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard Sullivan said no one in New Hampshire notified Massachusetts about the accident.

"Certainly the notification should have come much quicker and even those few days would have made a difference," Sullivan said. "We might have been able to keep it contained to the river or been collecting them quicker at the mouth of the river."

One million discs have washed up along the river and on beaches from Salisbury to Revere. State workers and volunteers have removed many but now Hooksett will pay the bills and hire a contractor to finish the job.

"The testing has shown no impact on human health so that's the good news," Sullivan said. "The bad news is you have up to 8 million small-plastic discs in the water that are going to continue to come ashore."

While not a threat to people, environmental officials say the discs could harm sea turtles.

This program aired on March 22, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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