Northport Village officials said they repaired a broken sewer pipe along Eastern Northport Bay by 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, barely before the tide came in.
"It was right down to the last minute, to a few inches," said Northport Village Trustee Damon McMullen. "They managed to get the new section put in and tightened down, and got out of there just in time."
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation shut down shellfishing Tuesday when officials learned of the break.MapSuffolk sewage status
DEC officials said the ban would be in effect until further notice. McMullen said the DEC took water samples Wednesday and plans to take more Thursday as it considers when to reopen the 922-acre area for shellfishing.
The break was caused by a machine being used in the effort to update the plant and its pipes. "When the excavator was digging, it just clipped . . . the pipe, and it doesn't take much, considering the age of the pipe," McMullen said. "It was purely accidental."
Village officials did not know how much sewage had reached the harbor. A pump truck was in place sucking up the sewage and saltwater, and delivering it to a plant that could process saline, which damages bacteria that process sewage.
The Northport plant meters showed 50,000 more gallons of fluid than normal in the system, including saltwater, said McMullen, also the village's commissioner of wastewater treatment.
"There was a minor effect on the bacteria count for the plant," he said. "As far as we know from the test results so far, it's working within all its limits."