To the editor:

The Merrimack River is a vital resource for New England, providing drinking water to half a million Massachusetts residents. The presence of untreated sewage in our river is unacceptable and threatens the health of our communities and our ecosystems.

State Sen. DiZoglio’s push to establish the Merrimack River District Commission (“Merrimack River task force gets a second chance,” Aug. 5) takes an important first step in cleaning up the river and implementing a more robust system of notification for local communities. I hope to see similar advocacy extend to all waterways in Massachusetts.

Another important piece of legislation was filed by state Sen. Patricia Jehlen, D-Somerville, state Rep. Denise Provost, D-Somerville, and state Rep. Linda Dean Campbell, D-Methuen. Their bill will ensure residents across Massachusetts are notified promptly when a sewage overflow occurs in their community.

Especially with the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing this summer, Massachusetts residents deserve to know if our waterways are safe for community use. I hope legislators will act quickly to protect our rivers.

Emily Kibbe

Environment Massachusetts

Boston