After decades of contaminated water and noxious odors at the popular King’s Beach, officials in both Lynn and Swampscott are working together to trace the sources of the pollution and clean it up.
The project, which will take years to complete and likely cost tens of millions of dollars, aims to identify all of the sources of pollution and develop a cleanup plan.
The beach, which stretches from Lynn to neighboring Swampscott, is routinely closed to swimming, which has long frustrated residents.
“During the heat, last week, unfortunately people weren’t able to use the beach,” said Danna Gobel, who walks on the beach daily.
Gobel said despite the red flag warnings against swimming, she often sees people in the water.
“My first concern is the families on the beach,” she said. “I’m not sure everyone interprets the flags correctly.”
Others pointed out that the foul odors around the beach are often unbearable.
“It’s very putrid, and you could smell it the entire area here,” said resident Lorena Martinez.
The water quality at King’s Beach, the only public beach in Lynn, is regularly ranked the second worst in the state.
In 2021, the water quality averaged 68%, a slight drop from the previous year, according to the nonprofit Save the Harbor/Save the Bay. Only Tenean Beach in Dorchester had worse water quality, at 63%.
Officials said the contamination is the result of both sewage and storm runoff.
“They’re trying to identify where exactly some of these sources are,” said Chris Mancini, executive director of Save the Harbor/Save the Bay, which is involved with the cleanup efforts. “The Lynn Water and Sewer Commission has an engineering team working on identifying the sources of contamination on that side. But it’s an ongoing process, it’s a big project.”
Both Lynn and Swampscott have secured $2.5 million apiece in federal funds to put toward the project, but the total cost is widely expected to soar into the tens of millions of dollars.
Mayor Jared Nicholson of Lynn, who said the cleanup is a “top priority,” for his administration, said he expects officials to select a multi-year cleanup plan sometime later this year.