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Ossining Mayor Unsure When Sewage Pipe Broke

OSSINING, N.Y. – Village Mayor William Hanauer said the sewage main break in Ossining that is causing 1.5 million gallons of sewage per day to dump into the Hudson River was discovered Thursday afternoon, but it is uncertain when the 18-inch sewer pipe broke.

"It's not in an accessible area, so it's not something you'd notice," Hanauer said. "They discovered it far downstream from where the break is because the water was discolored."

County health officials closed Croton Point beach and the Philipse Manor beach on Thursday afternoon as a result of the sewer break, which was caused by a fallen tree.

Officials are advising people to avoid direct contact with the Hudson River throughout Westchester, said Caren Halbfinger, a public information officer for the county health department.

Hanauer said members of the village department of public works were meeting with contractors on Thursday afternoon in preparation for beginning repairs. The village does not own the heavy equipment needed to repair the pipe, the mayor said.

"We hope to have it repaired by the end of tomorrow,” Hanauer said. “It's not an easy one to fix.”

In the meantime, chlorine is being added to the stream that feeds into the Hudson in amounts large enough to kill bacteria but not large enough to affect fish, Hanauer said.

The break occurred near the intersection of Water Street and Central Avenue, causing sewage to discharge into Killbrook Creek, about a quarter of a mile from the Hudson River.

"The health department is collecting beach water quality samples today and will issue an updated advisory based on sample results received tomorrow," county health officials said in a press release.

Guy May, the director of the sailing academy at the Shattemuc Yacht Club in Ossining, said he and about 20 kids were out sailing in the Hudson on Thursday morning and afternoon, and they did not notice anything wrong.

"It was a gorgeous day,” May said. “The kids did go into the water today. I probably would not have let them in the water if I had known what had happened, but nobody told us.”

May said he hopes the village and health departments will keep him informed of what is going on so that he and his sailing crews can act accordingly.

The Ossining sewage main break comes after a July 20 fire at a wastewater treatment plant on W. 135th Street and 12th Avenue in Manhattan caused raw sewage to dump into the Hudson River. The county health department issued advisories for several days after the Manhattan fire to avoid direct contact with the Hudson River.

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