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Monthly Report on Water Quality in Hudson River Tributaries


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Water quality data gathered recently by citizen scientists working with Riverkeeper to study six tributaries of the Hudson River are now available at

The results presented here represent a snapshot in time for a single day, and are not indicative of water quality today or for the month as a whole. We encourage the public to explore the historical data as one way to make informed choices about where and when to enter the water.

citizen-testing-report-July-2014-graphicCatskill Creek
19 sites,
45 miles

Esopus Creek
9 sites,
25 miles

Rondout Creek
17 sites,
43 miles

Wallkill River

21 sites,
64 miles

Pocantico River

13 sites,
10 miles

Sparkill Creek
16 sites,
8 miles
Citizen scientists gathered nearly 100 water samples on six tributaries in July and early August, working with Riverkeeper under an approved Quality Assurance Project Plan.

The most striking results came from the Sparkill Creek and Pocantico River, which were sampled immediately after heavy rain on August 2, 2014. Every site sampled failed to meet Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for safe swimming—and the degree of failure was extreme.

Nine of 13 samples (69%) on the Pocantico in Westchester County equaled or exceeded the highest Enterococcus count our testing method can detect—2,420 cells per 100 ml of water. On the Sparkill in Rockland County, 14 of 16 samples (88%) exceeded that count.

Just how high were bacterial counts here after rain? We diluted the Sparkill sample taken closest to its confluence with the Hudson, at the old drawbridge in Piermont. By diluting we can detect bacterial counts up to 24,196. The bacterial count exceeded the limit of this test, too, with a count over 24,196. The risk from pathogen exposure was extremely elevated.

The EPA recommends against swimming in water when the Entero count exceeds 60.

This document was prepared with support from the Hudson River Estuary Program, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, with support from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, in cooperation with the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission. The viewpoints expressed here do not necessarily represent those of NEIWPCC or NYSDEC, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or causes constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.

Generous funding for this ongoing collaborative project between Riverkeeper, CUNY Queens College and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has been provided by the HSBC Water Programme, the Dextra Baldwin McGonagle Foundation, Inc., the Hudson River Foundation and the Brinson Foundation.


Kayak Tour of the Lower Esopus Creek
Saturday, Sept. 13, 2-5 PM
Saugerties, NY
Registration Required. $10

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