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Raw sewage from local towns makes Hudson River unsafe for swimming

Apr 21, 2023 1:03 pm

Nancy Kern reports for Columbia-Greene Media that the Riverkeeper activist group is warning not to swim in the Hudson River locally because of the large amount of raw sewage Coxsackie, Hudson, Athens, and Catskill pour into the water. “In the Twin Counties, the city of Hudson and Catskill both rely on combined sewers designed to carry only sewage in dry weather, but after rain that system is designed to overflow into the Hudson River and Catskill Creek,” said Riverkeeper Director of Advocacy Dan Shapley. “That’s raw sewage going into our water.” Riverkeeper, which partners on water monitoring by with Queens College and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in routinely testing for fecal indicator bacteria, says that most Greene County and Columbia County tributaries sampled do not meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency safe-swimming criteria. Anyone swimming in the Hudson River locally might get bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and fever. Athens Town Supervisor Michael Pirrone does not seem worried about all the raw sewage his town is dumping in the Hudson River. “We have very few swimmers,” Pirrone said. “The only thing I would say, possibly, is that people who go boating park by the flats and go individually swimming. Athens has no beach, no signs that say swimming is permitted, so it’s very difficult to say what individual people may do.” Coxsackie Mayor Mark Evans claimsm "We’re not overflowing, or the overflows are very few and far between.” In Catskill, an engineer working on the village’s Combined Sewer Overflow Elimination Project says it will be five to seven years before the problem is solved. And, the paper reports, "Hudson Mayor Kamal Johnson referred questions on the issue to City Department of Public Works Superintendent Rob Perry, who did not immediately return calls for comment Thursday." Many cities south of the area use Hudson River water for drinking. Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.

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