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Hudson River Sewage Leak Still Affecting Residents

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. — John A. Morandi of Elmsford has said he’s been coming to Pierson Park in Tarrytown every day since 1940. He “not happy” with the fact that a New York City wastewater treatment plant is leaking sewage into the Hudson River.

“I think everything is atrocious,” he said. “They’re getting away with murder.”

Friday afternoon, the County Department of Health lifted restrictions on swimming, kayaking and windsurfing for parts of the Hudson River from Ossining north.

"These areas are outside the area affected by the wastewater being released," county health officials said.

For areas south of Ossining, county health officials recommended no direct contact with Hudson River waters, but did not restrict boating. For those who fish, health officials said they should practice "catch and release" for all points south of Ossining.

Tarrytown and Irvington were still under the restrictions Friday afternoon. The Village of Irvington took time to alert its notification subscribers about the restrictions through emails and text messages. Irvington has two kayak launches: one in Scenic Hudson Park and one in Matthiessen Park. Both parks were empty of kayakers Friday.

Millions of gallons of untreated sewage began dumping into the Hudson River on Wednesday at around 5:15 p.m. after a fire started in the North River wastewater treatment plant on West 135th Street and 12th Avenue in Manhattan from one of the plant's pump engines.

New York City Department of Environmental Protection officials said their department is working as quickly as possible to get the plant running again but "the estimated time to bring the plant back online is undetermined."

According to Paul Gallay, the president of Riverkeeper, an Ossining-based environmental watchdog organization that regularly tests the Hudson waters for levels of bacteria, swimming in waters containing unsafe levels of bacteria could lead to gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea or infection of wounds.

Riverkeeper boat captain John Lipscomb sampled waters along the Hudson from the Tappan Zee Bridge down to Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan Thursday. The organization was awaiting test results, which were expected Friday afternoon, said Riverkeeper spokeswoman Tina Posterli

"It's pretty significant. Our boat captain said the test results are probably going to show a picture of what this river was like four decades ago at a time when corporate polluters weren't held accountable," Posterli said.

Morandi believes New York City should have a back-up system for things such as the plant fire so something like the sewage leak won’t happen. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, he noted.

“The first time, you can forgive them because everything can happen once,” he said. “But the second time, you don’t forgive them. I think they’re imposing on the beauty and the structure of all this waterfront—Tarrytown, Hasting. They’re beautiful places and they shouldn’t be involved in treacherous stuff like that.”

Did the sewage catastrophe affect your plans for the weekend? Leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.

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