WNYC's Bob Hennelly is an award-winning investigative journalist. While at WNYC he has reported on a wide gamut of major public policy questions ranging from immigration and homeland security to power outages and utility mergers.
Pumps Working at Plant That Spilled Sewage
Friday, July 22, 2011 - 11:12 AM
Pumps are now working at the Harlem wastewater treatment plant that has spilled millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Hudson River, officials said. They're hopeful the discharges will end around 6 p.m. Friday.
Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith said "heroic work" had by the workers who descended on the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant in Harlem after waste water began seeping out of the facility following a four-alarm fire Wednesday.
Phil Hall and his two co-workers from Ohio said they drove a pair of 18-wheeler flat bed trucks hauling submersible pumps to the facility.
As workers make major repairs to the facility — including replacing a pump — the Department of Environmental Protection had to discharge untreated sewage into the Hudson River.
The plant treats 120 million gallons of wastewater on a typical day.
Swimmers and kayakers in New York and New Jersey have being urged to stay out of the water.
Three beaches on Staten Island and one in Brooklyn have been issued pollution advisories but have not been closed. The health department said people should stay out of the water at Sea Gate beach in Brooklyn and Cedar Grove, Midland, and South beaches on Staten Island
"And yet people still fishing there," said Eddie Lopez from the Lower East Side who said he saw swimmers and fisherman in the Hudson on Thursday. "I wouldn't eat anything that comes out of that river."
Keith Cooper, 48, a senior sailing instructor at the Manhattan Sailing School said kids attending its teen day camp were kept on shore Friday because their boats are close to the water — but races were to go on as scheduled.
"We're just keeping an eye on making sure people keep their hands and feet out of the water," Cooper said, "and if any water comes over [the boat] everybody keeps their mouths closed."
With reporting from Julia Longoria