Untreated sewage pouring into the Hudson River since 1913

January 31, 2019 11:36 AM

State officials are warning the public about untreated sewage spilling into the Hudson River in Albany instead of making its way to a wastewater treatment facility.

City leaders found out about this century-old saga last week, and now they're working on the $50,000 fix.

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Untreated waste discharged for decades into the Hudson River, the public notified through an alert.

Tara Wood of Rotterdam, who works in Albany, said: "I think it's really disgusting and I'm glad somebody's fixing it."

It's been going on since at least 1913, according to Albany's Water Commissioner Joe E. Coffey, Jr. P.E.

"How did they not know for 100 years," wondered Rotterdam resident Tara Wood.

Joshua Wood, Rotterdam, who works in Albany, said: "You think at some point in 100 years someone would figure it out."

During that time, Water Commissioner Joe Coffey says the sewage has flowed into the river from a storm drain out of a building on Broadway.

Commissioner Coffey told NewsChannel 13, "Right now, we're guessing five gallons a minute."

Coffey says a sewer on Broadway was supposed to connect to a new interceptor sewer when a wastewater treatment plant was built back then.

"It would've been an easy connection the way they designed it, but when they built it, they built it on the other side of storm sewer and never bothered making the connection," Coffey added.

The city said it is on the hook for the $50,000 fix over the next few weeks.

Dan Shapley of Riverkeeper said, "It was surprising to hear about it. Honestly though, it's not as unusual as we'd like."

Riverkeeper is a 50-year-old organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the Hudson River, which Shapley says supplies drinking water for about 100,000 people south of Albany.

Shapley says, "It's a big river and that amount of sewage going to be a big negative effect on drinking water downstream, but it's still an important leak to connect, every place there is water it attracts people.

City leaders found out about this century-old problem helping the building owners next door. The city discovered the issue when the property owner next door reached out to learn more about their connection.  Turns out their sewer flows out to 412 Broadway, where city officials say untreated waste, by their guess; five gallons every minute has flowed into the river through a storm drain since 1913.

Commissioner Coffey explained how they will fix the issued, "We'll wind up putting a couple structures in to intercept one pipe. We're going to drop it bring it under the sewer there now and connect it to the interceptor sewer.  Sounds easy on paper, looks easy on paper, but lots of utilities out there which complicates equipment and getting the pipe where it needs to go, so it'll take a little bit."


Jill Konopka

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