CrainesNY: New alert system notifies New Yorkers within four hours of actual sewage spill

August 5th, 2015 Posted in Front Page News, Newsletters

Every year, tens of billions of gallons of raw sewage befouls waterways New York residents use for drinking, swimming and fishing. Fixing the problem will take time and money, but in the meantime, a new alert system notifies the public when a spill happens at some, but not all, of the state’s sewage systems.

“These alerts give the public the opportunity to protect themselves from exposure when there’s a sewage spill,” said Dan Shapley, water quality program manager for Riverkeeper, which is dedicated to protecting the Hudson River. “But just as important, the alerts really raise awareness of the decaying state of our water treatment infrastructure and the need to make significant investments.”

New York’s “Sewage Pollution Right to Know” law passed in 2012 and was supposed to be implemented by May 2013. The state Department of Environmental Conservation put a public notification system in place, but didn’t propose formal regulations until this June. Public comments on them were accepted through Monday.

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