Blogs > Water Quality > Riverkeeper sues NYC to enforce Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act

Riverkeeper sues NYC to enforce Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act

The Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic sued the NYC DEP behalf of Riverkeeper, Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound, Bronx Council for Environmental Quality, Newtown Creek Alliance, Hudson River Watertrail Association, Raritan Baykeeper, NY/NJ Baykeeper, and Waterkeeper, Alliance. Now we need your help.

Take action now to sign a letter in support Riverkeeper’s Sewage Pollution Right to Know lawsuit!

 

Riverkeeper pushed hard in 2012 to establish the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act. The law mandates that the operator of public sewage treatment works must notify the public within four hours after the discovery of combined sewer overflows. New York City isn’t complying, and that puts our health at risk.

sewage in New York City

On days when it hasn’t recently rained, city waters are typically safe for kayaking and recreation. But almost every time it rains, polluted stormwater runoff mixes with raw sewage in the combined sewer system and overflows into our waterways where people swim, fish, and boat. These are called “combined sewer overflows.” New York City discharges more than 20 billion gallons of sewage through these overflows each year.

As a matter of practice, instead of notifying the public when its sewers discharge, the NYC Department of Environmental Protection waits to send notifications only if, according to its modeling, it expects enough sewage has been discharged to exceed state water quality standards. When the sewers are discharging but there has not been a water quality violation, this notification procedure jeopardizes the health of those who live, work or recreate on the waters and may come into contact with raw sewage. Raw sewage contamination can cause gastroenteritis, skin rashes, pinkeye, ear, nose and throat problems, respiratory infections, meningitis, hepatitis and other illnesses.

We demand that New York comply with the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act and alert the public every time raw sewage is overflowing. That is why the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic sued the Department of Environmental Protection today on behalf of Riverkeeper and partners Connecticut Fund for the Environment/Save the Sound, Bronx Council for Environmental Quality, Newtown Creek Alliance, Hudson River Watertrail Association, Raritan Baykeeper, NY/NJ Baykeeper, and Waterkeeper, Alliance. And we need your help to make this action successful. Take action now to sign a letter in support of the Sewage Pollution Right to Know lawsuit!

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