To Protect Swimmers and Recreational Water Users, A New Law Requires Governments to Report Sewage Discharges into Rivers
People entered the water along South Beach on Staten Island in the summer of 2011 despite swimming advisories that were posted after millions of gallons of raw sewage was discharged into the Hudson and Harlem rivers
In an effort to protect the public from such discharges, a new law known as the “Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act” requires local governments to report discharges of untreated or partly treated sewage to their health departments and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation within two hours. The notification must be made public at a government Web site within four hours of the discharge and in communications to the electronic media.
Riverkeeper, one of the environmental groups that pressed for the bill, said the law would not only speed public announcements but also help identify aging pipes, sewage plants and other infrastructure in need of repair or replacement.