Saturday, July 23, 2011

Trying to stop raw sewage flow and it's 103 degrees!

NYC treatment plant  where a pump fire caused the release of raw sewage 

Maybe it wasn't the worst job in the world but it had to be up there among them.

Employees at New York City's North River Wastewater Treatment Plant in Harlem, joined by employees of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and outside contractors from Ohio worked round the clock for two days to try to get the plant working again following a fire on Wednesday.

The resulting damage shut down the plant and forced its managers to divert the flow of  untreated sewage into pipes that feed directly into the Hudson and Harlem Rivers. One onlooker said the smell that hung over the area was "like a dead rat."

Teams of two dozen EPA employees followed 20-minute shifts in the engine room with 20 minutes of cooling down. Still, three reportedly were treated for heat exhaustion

The EPA declared that it had succeeded in ending the flow of sewage into the rivers as of 9:30 p.m. Friday.

But it will take more time for the wastewater treatment plant to return to normal operations since the microbes that help break down the waste during normal processing had all died when the plant was shut down will have to be built back up.

New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection was taking water samples from the Hudson to test for possible impacts on crowded Garden State beaches this summer weekend.

Water sampling done on Thursday by the DEP's Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring found elevated levels of fecal coliform. Samples taken at six locations, from Liberty State Park to Englewood, ranged from 290 to 740 colony forming units or cfu/per 100 ml. Beaches are normally closed when levels exceed reach 200 cfu/per 100 ml. Sampling was scheduled to continue today.

Related Environmental News Stories: 
Amid High Temperatures, Workers Stop Sewage Plant’s Flow Into River
Massive sewage spill sparks warning to stay out of Hudson River
Tons of raw sewage pours into Hudson River
Rivers not fit for recreational activity after sewage spill
N.J. DEP says Hudson sewage not affecting Jersey Shore beaches
|Raw Sewage Not Being Dumped Into Hudson Any More!
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