updated 5/11/2006 2:47:44 AM ET 2006-05-11T06:47:44

Sewage treatment plant workers discovered a baby’s arm in the muck, and authorities said Wednesday the remains could have come from 21 communities near Boston.

The arm found Tuesday was several inches long, Suffolk County spokesman David Procopio said. It was taken to the medical examiner’s office to determine how old the baby was and when the infant died.

The remains could have entered the wastewater system through a toilet, sewer, or catch basin, Procopio said.

The Deer Island sewage treatment plant on Boston Harbor normally services five communities north of Boston, but sewage flow from 16 additional communities was diverted to the plant for several hours Tuesday, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority said.

The State Police and Suffolk district attorney’s office appealed to the communities for information on anyone who was recently pregnant but does not have a baby.

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