Quincy allegedly dumped sewage and ‘untreated wastewater’ into Boston Harbor. Now the city is facing a complaint.

The city's sewer also overflowed multiple times, officials said.

A view from Nut Island Quincy looking toward the coast of Hull.
A view from Nut Island Quincy looking toward the coast of Hull. –David L. Ryan / Globe Staff

Sewage and “untreated wastewater” from Quincy were allegedly being dumped into Boston Harbor and other nearby bodies of water from the city’s storm drain system and sewer for nine years, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Now, a civil complaint is being lodged against the city for violating the Clean Water Act. 

Between 2009 and 2018, water quality samples allegedly showed that the city was letting “pollutants” that had E. coli bacteria and Enterococcus “onto Quincy beaches and tidal areas along the coastline.”

Affected areas include Boston Harbor, Quincy Bay, Dorchester Bay, and others, the release says.

“It also alleges that the water quality samples taken from Quincy Bay, Sagamore Creek, Town Brook, Town River Bay and Furnace Brook from the period 2009 through 2013 showed the discharge of ammonia, surfactants and pharmaceutical compounds, which are indicative of sewage waste,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office release says. The city’s sanitary system also allegedly “overflowed” multiple times and sewage and “untreated wastewater” flowed out.


“The Clean Water Act is designed to protect the waters of the United States for the health and enjoyment of its citizens,” United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said in the release. “This complaint demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that our waters and beaches are protected from discharges such as raw sewage and seeks to require that the City of Quincy take the important and necessary steps to do so.”

The complaint is part of a continued initiative to clean Boston Harbor as well as other “urban rivers,” according to Deb Szaro, the acting regional administrator for the New England region of the EPA.



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