Water Quality > Water Quality Program > Initial Findings

Initial Findings

The Water Quality Testing Program aims to characterize the complex water quality conditions in the Hudson River Estuary and its tributaries. Our initial findings show overall water quality to be highly variable depending on both location and time sampled. This study is ongoing and as the data increase, a better picture of problem locations throughout the estuary will emerge.

The initial findings are as follows:

  • Water quality varies location by location.
  • Water quality varies over time.
  • Sites vary in both the degree (how high is the sewage concentration), and the frequency (how often does it occur) of contamination.
  • Wet weather is a common trigger of sewage contamination.
  • Sewage contamination is often higher near the shoreline and at the confluence of tributaries.
  • Our results are consistent with the long-term trend of improving water quality in the Hudson. Most places we have sampled have acceptable water quality (at least, in terms of sewage contamination) most of the time. That is good news. However, most sites were found to have unacceptable conditions some of the time, and ‘hotspots’ of frequent contamination were also found.

    Given the increasing recreational use of the Hudson in all regions, combined with high variability in water quality, increased testing by towns, counties and/or the state and consistent public notification of those findings are needed. Improved water quality monitoring, backed up by needed investments in wastewater systems, will better protect public health and maximize the social and economic value of the Hudson River Estuary.

For more information read our summary reports on the Hudson River study:

How’s the Water? Water Quality Study 2006-2011

“How Is the Water? Sewage Contamination in the Hudson River Estuary” findings from Riverkeeper’s Water Quality Study, 2006-2010

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