Monday, July 25, 2011

Massive Sewage Spill in NYC

A catastrophic fire at the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant on the upper westside of Manhattan last Wednesday, July 20th, led to a temporary plant shutdown and the dumping of millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Hudson and Harlem Rivers. The untreated sewage flowed into the water from numerous pipes along the shoreline of Manhattan.

Despite the huge volume of wastewater - an estimated 120 million gallons a day for three days - many city residents were unaware of the spill, or learned of it too late to avoid contact with the contaminated water.

Swimmers in the park just north of the plant on 7/21

We approached them in the patrol boat and warned them

The morning after the fire Riverkeeper conducted the first of three water quality sampling runs in the waters around Manhattan Island, including New York Harbor and sites as far north as the Tappan Zee Bridge.

On Thursday the 21st, the first full day of the sewage discharge, we found extremely high levels of sewage contamination along the west shore of Manhattan, which at the time of sampling, did not extend north to Yonkers or south of the Battery. Sewage contamination was lower in the middle of the river, and still lower on the New Jersey side. In fact, on the New Jersey side, Enterococcus levels were “acceptable” per EPA guidelines.

On Friday the 22nd our sampling indicated similar results, with the highest contamination area being the west side of Manhattan. All sampling occurred before the North River Plant resumed partial operation on the evening of Friday, 7/22. It’s important to note that as of Friday evening, although the contamination pattern was similar and while contamination levels were lower than on the first day of sampling, some areas along the Manhattan shoreline were still very contaminated.

We sampled again today, Monday the 25th. An update with additional data will be posted soon.

In the meantime for more information on the spill:

Monday, July 18, 2011

More Photos from the 8 Bridges Swim

Our friend, Greg Porteus, pilot and foundation president of Launch 5, just sent us these great photos from the 8 Bridges Swim. Thank you again to the event organizers for including us in this incredible event, and congrats on completing the swim!

Jumping in!
The Fletcher meets the swimmers

Capt. Lipscomb and Boat and Water Quality Program Staff member, Rob Friedman

It's always a pleasure collaborating with Launch 5

photo credit: Greg Porteus

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The 8 Bridges Swim

Yesterday we had the privilege of bringing several journalists out on the river to cover the 8 Bridges Swim. The 8 Bridges Swim is running from the Rip Van Winkle Bridge near Catskill to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City, covering 120 miles of river. The swim is benefitting Riverkeeper, Launch 5, and Coney Island Brighton Beach Open Water Swimming Inc.

Here's some footage taken by our friends from Launch 5:

And some photos of the swimmers as they were interviewed by a journalist from the Journal News:

Thank you to the 8 Bridges team for including us in their event, and also highlighting the need for improved water quality in the Hudson River.

photo credit: Rob Friedman

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

The 4th of July on Patrol

We took these photos as we came southbound from Waterford folllowing the completion of our June water quality patrol. Results from our June patrol will be posted shortly.

Turtles and cormorants at Binnen Kill

Bald (headed) Eagle at Rattlesnake Island

Great Blue Heron at Catskill Point.

A little parade of boats from Hop O Nose Marina at Catskill under the Rip Van Winkle Bridge

Kayak hitchhiker at Four Mile Point

Then 3 guys in a broken down boat at Hudson…towed them to Catskill launch ramp

Folks at Coxsackie

Rip Van Winkle Bridge

The beautiful Hudson showing off this morning…

Frederic Church’s home (on hilltop) in morning ground fog

Friday, July 01, 2011

Swimming at Cold Spring & Garrison

In Putnam County there are no official beaches but people enjoy the Hudson from the shore wherever they can. On our current patrol north we passed Garrison and Cold Spring on Wednesday, a beautiful warm day. We saw two adventurous cliff divers in Garrison and plenty of people enjoying the water at Little Stony Point.

Splash Down in Garrison!

Busy Little Stony Point

Water quality findings at Little Stony Point.