METHUEN — Boats from the Clean River Project towed booms into place in two locations on the Merrimack River yesterday in hopes of catching more of the white plastic disks that escaped from the Hooksett, N.H., wastewater treatment plant last week.
The disks, which are like screens and about the size of a silver dollar, are supposed to stay in the tank and help clean the wastewater.
The disks, which may contain harmful bacteria such as E. coli, have also washed ashore in Newburyport, Plum Island, Deer Island, Gloucester and Salisbury. Test results have been inconclusive, but several local beaches have been closed as a precaution until all public health concerns have been resolved.
Meanwhile, North Shore elected officials yesterday called on Attorney General Martha Coakley to investigate the discharge of the disks and to hold the town of Hooksett accountable for the cleanup costs.
In a letter mailed to Coakley, Sens. Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester), Steven Baddour, D-Methuen, and Reps. Bradford Hill, R-Ipswich, Ann-Margaret Ferrante, D-Gloucester, Michael Costello, D-Newburyport, James Lyons, R-Andover, and Harriett Stanley, D-West Newbury, and Essex County Sheriff Frank Cousins, R-Newburyport, expressed concerns that New Hampshire officials failed to notify downstream communities of the discharge and the potential environmental and public health hazards associated with it.
"If proper notification had been given to downstream communities, many public safety concerns could have been averted and thousands of taxpayer dollars could have been saved," the letter states.
Yesterday, Rocky Morrison of the Clean River Project said he had been contacted by Hooksett officials for assistance in trapping more of the disks which are still floating downriver.
Morrison said booms were being put in place in two locations, behind Hughes Motors on Riverside Drive where his operation is based, and in another location upriver.
He said he determined where to place the floating plastic booms based on his knowledge of the currents and wind direction.
"We put them in certain bends in the river where we know the current and wind directions," he said.
Morrison said he did not know how many of the disks were released in Hooksett.
"They are still coming down the river," he said.
The disks were found in bushes along the banks of the river.
Morrison said he called state environmental officials in New Hampshire, and sent an e-mail offering help.
The New Hampshire officials contacted Hooksett officials who in turn contacted him, Morrison said.