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City of Troy Warned to Halt Illegal Discharge

CSO in Troy NY

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August 25, 2009, while conducting a routine patrol of the Hudson River and conducting water quality sampling near Troy, NY, Riverkeeper observed a gray discharge with a strong sewage odor coming from a combined sewer overflow (CSO) pipe located between the Green Island and Congress Street Bridges in Troy. Water quality tests conducted by Riverkeeper revealed extremely high levels of Enterococcus, an indicator of raw sewage. On this date there had been no rain locally in more than 24 hours.

A legacy of 19th century municipal engineering, CSOs occur mostly in older cities like New York and Albany where the sewage system was designed to collect both wastewater and storm runoff in the same pipes. In dry weather wastewater is transported to a treatment plant, where it is treated. During periods of heavy rainfall, the combined sewage and stormwater volume can quickly exceed a sewage treatment plant’s capacity. In order to keep sewage from backing up in the system – where it could spurt through manhole covers or backflood into homes and businesses, the combined sewer system is designed to overflow during rains and discharge excess wastewater directly to the Hudson River and other waterbodies.

CSO overflows during dry weather are illegal under the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Combined Sewer Overflow Control Policy, and the New York State discharge permit issued to the City of Troy.
Riverkeeper alerted the New York State DEC of this illegal discharge and issued a warning letter to the City of Troy. While not a formal “notice of intent to sue” this letter informed the City that this type of activity is unacceptable and that Riverkeeper will continue to monitor the City’s discharge pipes during patrols to ensure that dry weather overflows do not occur. Riverkeeper is awaiting a response from the City detailing how they will address our concerns.

CSO Warning Letter

Troy Exhibit A

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