CROTON-ON-HUDSON, NY- Hudson River advocacy group Riverkeeper Tuesday released a report on sewage contamination in the river that concluded the waterway was contaminated from the New York Harbor to above the Troy dam, nearly 160 miles north of New York City.
The report comes just after a fire at a sewage treatment plant in New York City resulted in the discharge of more than 200 millon gallons of raw sewage into the Hudson. It took three days to stop the leak and Hudson River beaches were closed due to a potential health threat to swimmers, kayakers, fishermen and others who had physical contact with the river's water.
Riverkeeper boat captain, John Lipscomb , said, "The recent 200 plus million gallon sewage spill in New York City is only a minor part of widespread contamination that regularly occurs in the Hudson. "He said while average water quality in the Hudson Estuary passed the U.S. EPA guideline for safe swimming most of the time it has been sampled by Riverkeeper, it has failed safe swimming guidelines 1 1/2 days a week on average, or roughly 21% of the samples. In comparison, water quality samples collected at beaches nationwide failed the EPA guideline for safe swimming 7% of the time between 2006-2010.
"The Hudson River has undergone a renaissance as a destination for recreation,tourism and water sports," said Paul Gallay , Riverkeeper President, "We need to test for sewage contamination, alert the public when we find it, and work to eliminate its sources."
Riverkeeper is recommending weekly water quality testing of all user areas.
It is also calling on local and state governments to locate contamination sources and prevent sewage from entering the river and its tributaries and for local municipalities to upgrade aging wastewater treatment plants, which it says contributes greatly to the problem.
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