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Photo courtesy Riverkeeper

 

The Hudson Valley Green received a water quality alert today from Riverkeeper. A citizen reported sewage discharge into the Harbor on September 17 and Riverkeeper confirmed dangerous levels of raw sewage. The discharge is still flowing as of today.

 

Riverkeeper says New York State and Dutchess County have no laws that require public notification of a sewage discharge into public waterways such as this, even when the discharge is in an area where the public is known to come into direct contact with the water.

 

For the full report, please visit The Hudson Valley Green.

 

And here is a related story about Beacon sewage problems from earlier this year.

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Comment by Steve Gold on September 29, 2011 at 8:40am

Concerned friends,

 

The following is an updated statement regarding discharge from the recent significant storms. I would appreciate it for this response to be forwarded to anyone who received an initial letter/email/post that communicated the situation. I fully share the concern by all and regard this as a vehicle to further identify areas where the city can improve our aging infrastructure. 

 

On September 19th the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation advised the City that it had received a complaint from Riverkeeper concerning a City stormwater outfall to the Hudson River in the area of Riverfront Park.  This stormwater outfall is aligned with the end of West Main Street. Riverkeeper provided DEC with photographs of the outfall and has since posted additional information on its website. 

 

On September 19, 2011 a NYSDEC engineer conducted an inspection of the outfall accompanied by the City’s Water and Sewer Superintendent, Jamie McCollum.  At that time, the NYSDEC representative and Mr. McCollum concurred that they observed no physical evidence showing that this location was conveying anything other than stormwater to the Hudson River and the site was consistent with what was depicted in the Riverkeeper photographs, taken prior to the 19th and provided to the NYSDEC. The NYSDEC engineer returned to the site on September 27 and, again accompanied by Mr. McCollum, reinspected the site. During that visit the DEC engineer made a request to the Dutchess County Health Department to sample the outfall for bacteria which would be indicative of sewage.

 

The City takes the matter seriously of sewage discharge caused by the last two storms and our aging infrastructure. I have directed its engineering consultants to review the physical aspects of the stormwater pipe and outfall as they relate to the representations made by Riverkeeper.  The City will conduct its own sampling of the outfall on September 29th and submit the samples to a NY Certified Laboratory for testing. Once the test results are available, the City will meet with the NYSDEC to determine what further steps might be appropriate.   

        

The City is also currently undertaking a significant program to reduce infiltration and inflow in its sewer system and is dedicated to improving water quality.

 

Steve Gold

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