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Westchester Health Dept. Issues Advisory for Hudson Recreation

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July 10, 2023

This story has been updated

The Westchester County Department of Health has been notified by the Westchester County Department of Environmental Facilities (DEF) regarding an ongoing force main break repair at the Tarrytown Sewer Pump Station. As a result of this incident, partially treated sewage was discharged into the Hudson River at River Street in Sleepy Hollow, potentially causing an environmental impact to the surrounding waters.

The first indication of a problem was the discovery on Monday, July 10, of a sinkhole on the south side of Rte. 119, opposite the entrance to the Carrollwood condominiums. The apparent cause was a break in a 30-inch “force-main,” a pump designed to move sewage uphill, in this case to connect sewage lines from communities to the north to the county’s main pump station. When Village Administrator Rich Slingerland and Village Engineer Dan Penella inspected the sinkhole, they discovered “a bubbling sewer” that they attributed to the county-owned force-main. They immediately notified the county’s Department of Environmental Facilities (DEF), which immediately dispatched staff to inspect. The DEF, in turn, called in ELQ, the county’s emergency contractor, to make repairs.

“To the best of my knowledge and information,” Slingerland told The Hudson Independent, “when the sewer main is shut down for an emergency repair, there is no alternative at that point in time than to release the sewage into the Hudson River in Sleepy Hollow, before the system becomes overwhelmed and starts backflowing, with the potential to backflow into homes and businesses if the pressure is not / was not released while the system is shut down during the repair.” Repairs began at 6:00 p.m. Monday and were completed by Tuesday afternoon.

While repairs were ongoing, partially treated sewage was release into the Hudson at a discharge point near Horan’s Landing on the Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow border. The discharge ended Tuesday, but in the interest of public safety, the Department of Health advises all recreational boaters and swimmers to refrain from activities that involve contact with the Hudson River, from Peekskill to Yonkers, until further notice. The County Health Department is collecting water samples and subject them to a comprehensive evaluation. Until the Health Department will determine when it is appropriate to lift the advisory. That is not anticipated until at least Thursday morning, July13.

Updates are available on the Health Department’s web site: https://health.westchestergov.com.

 

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