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The Latest: Power outage leads to dumping of sewage in river

A large tree is down on top of a car on Mellen Street, in Portland, Maine, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, after early morning storm with high winds. Central Maine Power, the state's largest utility, said its 391,000 outages surpasses its peak of 345,000 homes and businesses without power during the ice storm of 1998. (Michele McDonald/Portland Press Herald via AP)
October 31, 2017 - 2:52 PM

PORTLAND, Maine - The Latest on a severe storm in the Northeast that brought hurricane-force wind gusts and torrential rain (all times local):

5:45 p.m.

A sewage treatment plant in North Andover, Massachusetts, lost power during the powerful wind storm and spilled 8 million gallons of untreated waste into the Merrimack River.

North Andover Town Manager Andrew Maylor said Tuesday a pump failed to move waste into the treatment plant because of the power outage. That allowed waste to back up and flow in the river.

He says there was backup power for the sewage treatment plant, but not the pump outside the plant.

Maylor says there was no immediate threat to residents, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection was looking into the matter.

High winds and heavy rain throughout the Northeast on Monday downed trees and power lines and left more than 1.5 million without electricity.

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5:15 p.m.

The director of Maine's only Veterans Administration hospital says patient care wasn't compromised during a power outage.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, called for an investigation Tuesday after learning that the Togus VA Medical Center outside Augusta asked for emergency power following a wind storm the day before.

The request led to questions about whether the hospital was adequately prepared and whether services were affected.

Director Ryan Lilly said Tuesday that the VA had five generators and three backups. He said one of the five primary generators went on the fritz, causing lights to blink, and necessitating a backup.

He says patient care was not affected and that the problem was resolved by the time the Maine National Guard brought extra generators.

High winds and heavy rain throughout the Northeast downed trees and power lines and left more than 1.5 million without electricity.

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Coast Guard crews from Maine to Rhode Island have identified more than 50 vessels from sailboats to kayaks torn from their moorings due to Monday's powerful storm.

Many were unmanned and adrift while others were washed up on shore. Coast Guard teams found no significant pollution from the boats.

The Coast Guard says many of the boat owners have been identified and contracted with commercial salvage companies to remove their vessels.

High winds and heavy rain throughout the Northeast downed trees and power lines and left more than 1.5 million without electricity.

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4:30 p.m.

Some families evacuated from a New Hampshire town near two swollen rivers are returning home, though they still don't have power.

Campton Fire Chief Daniel Defosses says about a third of the town now has power, as do parts of neighbouring towns. A number of roads are still closed, with some stretches of roadway washed out or impassable due to downed trees and power lines.

Halloween trick-or-treating has been postponed until Friday because Defosses says houses along the main road that runs from Campton into Thornton have no electricity and the towns didn't want to risk any harm to children.

High winds and heavy rain throughout the Northeast downed trees and power lines and left more than 1.5 million without electricity.

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2:15 p.m.

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (ray-MAHN'-doh) says she's asking utility National Grid to do a better job of communicating its plans for restoring power to residents following a powerful Northeast storm that downed trees and power lines.

The Democratic governor said Tuesday the utility was probably "caught a little flat-footed" because the storm caused more damage than expected late Sunday and early Monday.

National Grid says sustained high winds made it challenging to restore power Monday.

About 65,000 homes and businesses in Rhode Island don't have power, down from about 140,000.

Raimondo says crews are aiming to restore power to 35,000 customers Tuesday. She wants National Grid to tell her the timeline for restoring power to each municipality.

At the storm's peak Monday, more than 1.5 million homes and businesses across the Northeast were without electricity.

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12:45 p.m.

Maine utilities say they hope to restore electricity by the end of the week to most of the roughly 400,000 residents and businesses left without power by strong winds and heavy rain that topped trees and electrical lines.

Representatives from Central Maine Power and Emera Maine said Tuesday that they are working around the clock with the goal of restoring power to most customers by Saturday.

The number of Maine residents and businesses without power is higher than the total during an ice storm two decades ago. But, state officials say they expect it will be easier to make the repairs, given the better weather conditions.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage's office said he's expected to tour the damage Wednesday. At the storm's peak Monday, high winds and heavy rain throughout the Northeast downed trees and power lines and left more than 1.5 million without electricity.

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11:45 a.m.

The network of recreational trails across New Hampshire took "a major hit" during Monday's storm, with reports of trees down, bridges possibly washed out and other sections damaged by flood waters.

The chief of the New Hampshire Bureau of Trails, Chris Gamache, says the ATV trails in Warren took "a direct hit again" and are closed, as is the Hopkinton-Everett Riding Area in Dunbarton — which serves as a catch basin for flood waters in order to protect towns further south along the Merrimack River. Trails at Jericho Mountain State Park have been temporary closed.

Gamache compared the damage to Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, adding that this storm resulted in more wind damage and less rain. Repairs will be expensive and Gamache said he feared it will be challenging to ready the trails for the opening of snowmobile season Dec. 15.

At the storm's peak Monday, high winds and heavy rain throughout the Northeast downed trees and power lines and left more than 1.5 million without electricity.

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10:30 a.m.

A major electric utility in Rhode Island and Massachusetts says about 180,000 of its customers are still without power.

National Grid says a peak of 282,000 homes and businesses were without power in Massachusetts after the storm. That number was down to 100,000 Tuesday morning. In Rhode Island, a peak of 154,000 customers had lost power, but that number was down to 80,000 Tuesday.

Utility officials say they're bringing in crews from all over the country and expect to restore power to most of those customers by the end of Wednesday. They expect to restore power to all schools, nursing homes and shelters by the end of the day Tuesday.

At the storm's peak Monday, more than 1.5 million were without electricity as the storm packing high wind and heavy rain moved through the Northeast.

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9:55 a.m.

Officials in New England cities and towns that experienced significant storm damage say families should be very careful when taking children trick-or-treating.

The storm peaked Monday and knocked down thousands of trees and left more than a million people without power. Portland, Maine, officials say they are still cleaning up on Tuesday, and some neighbourhoods warrant extreme caution.

City spokeswoman Jessica Grondin says many homes don't have power, and power lines are still down in some areas. She says the city is recommending residents not trick-or-treat on streets that don't have power.

She also says using illuminating devices is especially important on Tuesday night.

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7:30 a.m.

Power is slowly being restored to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in New England, one day after a powerful storm downed numerous trees and power lines and flooded roads.

The lack of power Tuesday forced dozens of school districts across the region to cancel classes for a second consecutive day, while many towns postponed trick-or-treating until the weekend.

At the storm's peak Monday, more than 1.5 million customers were without electricity.

By Tuesday morning, there were still over 407,000 outages reported in Maine. More than 138,000 customers were still without power in New Hampshire, and nearly 39,000 were in the dark in Vermont.

The two major electric utilities in Massachusetts were reporting more than 120,000 outages combined. About 83,000 homes and businesses in Rhode Island were still in the dark, while Connecticut's utilities had about 60,000 outages.

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1:05 a.m.

A severe storm that pounded the Northeast has left utility crews scrambling to restore power and forced communities to postpone Halloween festivities due to damage.

The storm knocked out power to nearly 1.5 million homes and business at its peak Monday across the region. More than 1 million customers remained in the dark early Tuesday.

New England bore the brunt of the storm. Thousands of trees were toppled. In New Hampshire, floodwaters swept away a house. In Maine, the state's largest utility warned residents to be prepared to be without electricity for up to a week.

Officials in some cities and towns have pushed back trick-or-treating from Halloween night — Tuesday — to as late as Sunday evening due to safety concerns.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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