Plum Island Sewer System

Last Updated | Feb 27 @10:30am

Temporary Housing Extended

Plum Island Sewer System

Temporary housing for Plum Island residents has been extended to Tuesday, March 2, 2015.

DPS and AIRVAC crews continue to repair leaks in the Plum Island Sewer System. Coordinated by the City of Newburyport, the Governor’s Office and MEMA, over 50 residents have now been offered temporary housing.

The snowstorms that hit Plum Island in February have covered air vents (candy cans) and frozen sewer valves, decreasing vacuum pressure and prompting residents to limit water usage.

However in some cases limiting water isn’t enough. As several homes share the same valve pit, even if one residence isn’t affected, the waste water from that home could be flowing into a neighbor’s house.

Right now, crews have restored vacuum pressure to some of Plum Island, but much of the residents on the beach side, and near the Lighthouse on the basin side are being asked not use water until further notice.

Starting February 23, residents without water began relocating to temporary housing in Amesbury, Haverhill, Danvers and Seabrook. The city is taking care of arrangements, and continues to provide daily updates on the status of the sewer system.

For those staying on the island, MEMA and the Red Cross are positioned at PITA Hall. Staff members from the Water and Sewer & Public Health Offices have also been on hand to answer questions.

In addition, three outdoor bathrooms have been brought to the island. Two are located at the Point, while the other is in the parking lot of Plum Crazy. Go VIP!

Other restroom available during the week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. include the Salvation Army, YWCA, Latitude Sports Club and the Mass Audubon at Joppa Flats. These locations also offer shower facilities.

As an additional reminder, clearing air vents (candy canes) is still important. A clear vent helps maintain vacuum pressure on each valve pit, and assists DPS crews in fixing leaks quicker. This will also keep the system-wide pressure up, and stabilize the island’s sewer system all together. Hissing air vents could also be a sign of a frozen value. Please call the emergency numbers above to report.

For additional updates from the City of Newburyport on other areas around Plum Island read here.

Emergency Information

Residents who experience a back-up during City Hall business hours should call should call the Water and Sewer Business Office at 978.465.4420 or email

Business hours are Monday – Wednesday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Friday 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Use this contact information to register for temporary housing as well, or visit PITA and sign up in person. Residents must signup with the City before checking in.

To report a back-up outside of City Hall business hours, call the Newburyport Police Department at 978.462.4411.

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