July 20, 2011 - Smoke bellows from North River Wastewater Treatment Plant in Harlem. The Department of Health and the DEP have advised the public not to swim at four beaches - South Beach, Midland Beach and Cedar Grove Beach on Staten Island and Brooklyn's Sea Gate Beach - due to the hundreds of millions gallons of raw sewage that spilled into the Hudson River after Wednesday's fire at the treatment plant. (Photo: phlpp7r/Twitter)
According to the The New York Times the DEP said it had succeeded in ending the flow of sewage into the rivers as of 9:30 p.m last night. No word yet however when the swimming ban will be lifted or when the plant will be operational. On Friday the City extended Parks Department pool hours by 2 hours due to the heat.
"Water quality modeling indicates that these beaches have been potentially impacted by the untreated sewer discharges from the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant," the DEP said in a statement on Friday.
"Though the beaches are not closed, the New York City Department of Health does not recommend swimming and bathing until this advisory is lifted, especially for people with underlying medical conditions, or young or elderly people who may be more likely to get sick if beach water is swallowed," the DEP said in a statement.
The swimming ban comes as the city is experiencing record temperatures across the five boroughs.
During his weekly radio talk show with WOR's John Gambling, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the sewage "doesn't have a very big impact, " according to DNAinfo.
Phillip Musegaas, Hudson River Program Director for Riverkeeper, a watchdog and advocacy group that monitors the waterway, disagreed. He said more city beaches will likely have to close if the city is unable to stem the tide of untreated sewage today.
"The main concern is public health exposure. If you are in the water and have a cut or scrape you are at risk for infection. If you ingest water that has a higher bacteria count, you are at increased risk of getting sick from gastrointestinal problems," he said.
"It's very serious, especially now that you have large numbers of people looking to utilize the rivers and beaches."
Raw sewage can have up to 200 times the recommended limit of bacteria, said Musegaas. Riverkeeper samples taken from the Hudson last week showed that bacteria levels in the river were well below established limits.
The group criticized the DEP for not doing enough to notify swimmers, kayakers and boaters to stay out of the water. While taking samples on Wednesday and Thursday, the group still found kayakers in the water not far from the plant.
Riverkeeper testers also found people swimming in the water near Dyckman Street yesterday afternoon, Musegaas said.
"They need to do more. If it's a real public health risk, every city agency should be coordinating to get people out of the water, not just saying don't go in," Musegaas said. "The better information we can get out to the public, the better off we are." – Geoffrey Croft
DNAinfo - July 22, 2011 - By Jeff Mays
A Walk In The Park - July 21, 2011
Advisories/Press Releases below
The New York City Health Department has issued beach pollution advisories for the following locations to take effect Friday, July 22, at 10 a.m. through Monday, July 25:
• South Beach in Staten Island
• Midland Beach in Staten Island
• Cedar Grove Beach in Staten Island
• Sea Gate in Brooklyn
Water quality modeling indicates that these beaches have been potentially impacted by the untreated sewer discharges from the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant. Though the beaches are not closed, the New York City Department of Health does not recommend swimming and bathing until this advisory is lifted, especially for people with underlying medical conditions, or young or elderly people who may be more likely to get sick if beach water is swallowed. Signs will be placed at the beach entrances to alert the public of the risk. Alternative beaches, such as Coney Island Beach, Rockaway Beach, Orchard Beach, Manhattan Beach and Wolfe’s Pond Beach, remain open and unaffected based on current water quality modeling.
Additionally, based on recommendations from NYC Health, the Hudson River, the East River from the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge to Verrazano Bridge, the Harlem River and the Kill Van Kull to the Goethals Bridge will not be fit for recreational activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing or any other water activity that would entail possible direct contact now through at least Sunday. Also, consuming fish caught from these areas is not recommended for anyone until the pollution advisory is resolved. It is recommended that individuals catch and release fish back into the water.
The New York City Police Department Harbor Unit will be patrolling near the plant to ensure boaters keep a proper distance. The Parks Department is restricting access to the river at the 79th Street Boat Basin and placing signs prohibiting kayaking, canoeing and other recreational activities from all city boat launch sites along the Hudson River and other appropriate sites. The Hudson River Park Trust as well as the Battery Park City Authority are also installing similar signs at sites under their jurisdiction.
DEP and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene continue to take samples in the harbor and at permitted beaches that could potentially be impacted. For the most up-to-date information, go to the NYC Health website at www.nyc.gov/health, www.nyc.gov/dep, or call 311.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2011
Pools Will Stay Open Until 8 PM Tonight and Will Be Open from 10 AM to 8 PM Tomorrow, and Spray Showers in Playgrounds Will Remain On Until 9 PM
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Parks Commissioner
“The City’s pools are great places to cool off and beat the heat,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “During this heat wave, New Yorkers should take advantage of the free places around the City that offer relief from the heat: pools, spray showers, beaches and cooling centers. Remember to stay out of the sun, drink plenty of water, and check on your friends and family who may be at risk for heat-related illnesses.”
Air-conditioned City cooling centers will be open through Saturday. Cooling centers are public places, such as Department for the Aging senior centers and New York City Housing Authority and Salvation Army community centers, where air conditioning is available. To find the cooling center closest to you, call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov.
Most City beaches, including
During this period of extreme heat, New Yorkers should take precautions including staying out of the sun as much as possible. When in the sun, wear sunscreen and a hat to protect your face and head. Remember to check on family and friends as heat can affect people differently. Seniors, young children, and people with chronic medical or mental health conditions and those who take certain medications have a higher risk of heat-related illnesses. If you feel sick from the heat, go to a cool place, rest and drink water. Call your doctor or go to the emergency department right away if you have these symptoms:
· Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
· Dizziness or fainting
· Nausea or vomiting
· Confusion, irritability, hallucinations, disorientation
· Hot, dry skin or cold, clammy skin.
The risk for getting sick during a heat wave is increased for people who:
· Are younger than five, or older than 64
· Have chronic medical or mental health conditions
· Take medications, which can disrupt the regulation of body temperature
· Are confined to their beds or unable to leave their homes
· Are overweight