News > News > Public Access > Joint Effort to Investigate Underwater Hazards at Ossining’s Hudson River Beach

Joint Effort to Investigate Underwater Hazards at Ossining’s Hudson River Beach

For Immediate Release
Contact: Sue Donnelly, Town of Ossining Supervisor, 914-762-6001, sdonnelly@townofossining.com
Dan Shapley, Riverkeeper Water Quality Program Manager, 914-478-4501 x226 or dshapley@riverkeeper.org
Joshua Mandel, Principal, Ossining High School 914-762-5760, Ext. 2302 or jmandel@ossining.k12.ny.us

NOTE TO EDITORS: Photo Op of Village of Croton-on-Hudson police divers in dry suits investigating sunken debris at the Town of Ossining Beach. Reporters and photographers planning to cover the story on April 25 are asked to contact Supervisor Sue Donnelly ahead of time, since activities have the potential to be hazardous, and the beach area will be accessible by invitation only.

On Saturday, April 25, police dive team will investigate remnants of 50-year-old swimming dock
OSSINING, NY – On April 25, 2015, divers from the Village of Croton-on-Hudson Police Department Dive Team will conduct a training exercise at the beach at Town of Ossining’s Louis Engel Waterfront Park, in an effort to investigate and – if possible – remove underwater debris that is perceived as a hazard to recreation.

Half a century ago, a floating dock at the beach was sunk in the Hudson River, creating debris that has been perceived as a potential hazard to swimmers.

The first task of the project is to investigate and identify underwater debris. The second task will be to remove as much as possible, with the support of tow trucks, winches, work boats and other equipment on land and water.

The collaborative effort is being supported by the Town of Ossining, including its Parks and Recreation Department; the Village of Ossining Police and Fire departments; Riverkeeper; Ossining Boat and Canoe Club and SeaTow Central Hudson. Heavy duty Tow Truck companies will be on call should they be needed.

Sue Donnelly, Town of Ossining Supervisor, said: “This is an exciting time for the Town of Ossining. To be able to work with other communities such as Croton, as well as Ossining Police and Fire, Riverkeeper, OBCC , SeaTow and other groups shows what teamwork is all about. Together we will accomplish a goal none of us could do alone, help clean the Hudson River of hazards allowing to expand our recreation activities in the future.”

Dan Shapley, Riverkeeper Water Quality Program Manager, said: “It would be an extraordinary accomplishment to give Ossining its Hudson River beach back. While there are no formal plans to reopen a bathing beach, the community is taking two steps toward that end by removing underwater hazards and studying water quality.”

Ossining High School is also partnering with Riverkeeper to conduct a student study of water quality at the beach.
Joshua Mandel, Principal of Ossining High School, said “Ossining High School is excited and thankful to be working with Riverkeeper and other partners on testing Hudson River water and exploring ways of reopening the beach. This project is truly providing an authentic learning experience for student in our Environmental Science Program, and Hudson Pride class.”

Riverkeeper has tested water at the Ossining beach since 2006 (view the results). Monthly sampling has shown that water quality is often fit for swimming, but on occasion, and particularly after rain, fecal contamination has been measured above levels recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency—sometimes far exceeding those levels. Sewage and other fecal contamination is the leading cause of illness resulting from recreation in and on the water.

Frequent water sampling, coupled with an analysis of potential sources, rainfall, tides and other factors, could result in a predictive model that could help facilitate public recreation on most days, while preventing exposure to unsafe levels of contamination at times when water quality is predicted to be poor.

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