This just in… The North River Wastewater Treatment Plant at West 117th St. in Manhattan began pumping wastewater flow out of an 84-inch sewer pipe yesterday afternoon into the Hudson River due to a fire in the engine room. Normally this wastewater flows into the plant but due to the fire they have began a pump-around process. Normally this wastewater flows to the Wards Island Wastewater Treatment Plant but is being dumped into the Hudson as overflow. The DEP is also applying chlorine to some sewer outfalls near the plant to reduce the bacteria in the untreated wastewater discharges.
This is a super unfortunate event, and not only could it cause out local beaches to be closed, it could also cause harmful and toxic algae blooms in the tidal estuaries of NY harbor, Jamaica Bay and the nearby Atlantic Ocean… Keep your fingers crossed that this issue is resolved swiftly if anything, for the safety of all living creatures that have to swim and breathe in this polluted water!
Environmental, Health and Community Impacts
Water quality modeling indicates that there is no immediate impact to permitted beaches due to the dilution capacity of the river. Based on recommendations from NYC Health, the Hudson River, the East River from the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge to Verrazano Bridge, the Harlem River and the Kill Van Kull to the Goethals Bridge will not be fit for recreational activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing or any other water activity that would entail possible direct contact now through at least Sunday. The New York City Police Department Harbor Unit will be patrolling near the plant to ensure boaters keep a proper distance. The city Parks Department is restricting access to the river at the 79th Street Boat Basin and placing signs prohibiting kayaking, canoeing and other recreational activities from all city boat launch sites along the Hudson River and other appropriate sites. The Hudson River Park Trust as well as the Battery Park City Authority are also installing similar signs at sites under their jurisdiction.
DEP and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene are currently taking samples in the harbor and at permitted beaches that could potentially be impacted. Beaches remain open at this time and for the most up-to-date information, go to the NYC Health website at www.nyc.gov/health, www.nyc.gov/dep, or call 311. Individuals can also receive proactive alerts by signing up through 311 for Notify NYC, the city’s official source for information about emergency events and important city services. Riverbank State Park, located atop the treatment plant, remains closed until further notice. Westchester County and New Jersey DEP are also performing water sampling and water flow modeling to determine any impacts on their rivers and beaches.FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 21, 2011 CONTACT: Farrell Sklerov/Michael Saucier (718) 595-6600