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Final 2015 Hudson River Sampling Patrol Shows Good Water Quality


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The season’s last set of Hudson River Estuary water quality sampling results are now available at the Water Quality section.

Data from the October patrol show that dry weather means swimmable water—except where chronic problems exist. With the lack of CSOs, rain-induced clogs and breaks in the wastewater delivery system, and streetwater runoff, some of the Estuary’s known and suspected fecal contamination hotspots stick out like sore thumbs, such as the Newburgh Launch Ramp and the Mohawk River at Waterford.
Our sampling in the Mohawk River, done in partnership with SUNY Cobleskill, has shed some light on the possible source of the chronic contamination our water quality patrols have documented in Waterford. Samples collected just upstream of the Mohawk’s mouth, at Flightlocks Road Boat Launch, had relatively low Entero counts in July, August and September. Downstream, at Waterford Harbor, counts failed the EPA’s recommended criteria for safe swimming on each of those sampling days. We are working with DEC to investigate the stretch of river between these two locations.
Photo: Students Heather Baker and Angela Zhu aboard the R. Ian Fletcher for water quality sampling in the Mohawk River.

Progress is also being made in Newburgh, where Riverkeeper’s results from the Newburgh Launch Ramp have brought attention to chronic contamination at the waterfront. Via DEC’s public notification system recently created under the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law, the public recently learned that Newburgh identified an illicit wastewater connection. The city is working on a temporary fix until permanent repairs can be made. The contamination at the Newburgh Launch Ramp won’t be completely eliminated by this one correction, but the City continues to systematically search for these illegal hookups adjacent to the river.

Also at now are results of early October’s community sampling in the Pocantico River and Sparkill Creek. Our full datasets from these two streams show that, according to EPA criteria, the water is almost always unsafe even for a child to splash at the water’s edge, and in rainy weather many samples reach the maximum that our analytical procedure is able to detect. The early October samples were taken after about two inches of rain fell in each of these watersheds. As expected, most samples were at or near the maximum.

This week, community partners will be collecting the season’s final samples in the Catskill Creek, Esopus Creek, Rondout Creek, and the Wallkill River. Check soon for results.

Generous funding for Riverkeeper’s Water Quality Program, has come from many sources, including from our partners at CUNY Queens College and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University; and, the Austen-Stokes Ancient Americas Foundation, Chris and Suzanne Augustin, Dale and Laura Kutnick, Dextra Baldwin McGonagle Foundation, Double R Foundation, Eppley Foundation for Research, HSBC Water Programme, Hudson River Foundation for Science and Environmental Research, John McLaughlin, Michele Hertz and Larry Friedman, The Nancy and Edwin Marks Family Foundation, New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC), S. Mackintosh Pulsifer, Mike Richter, Sun Hill Foundation and the Wallace Research Foundation, and many Riverkeeper members.

The contents of this report do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of NEIWPCC or any other funder, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.

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