Some of the most consistently contaminated water in the Hudson River flows through the Capital Region, according to a new report out by environmental group Riverkeeper. 8,000 samples were collected over 9 years on the 315 mile long river that flows from deep in the Adirondack Mountains to New York City.
The study tested for levels of Enterococcus or Entero bacteria that indicate disease-causing pathogens associated with fecal contamination. 21 percent of the samples were higher than the EPA’s standard for safe swimming. Waterford, where the Mohawk mixes with the Hudson, had the most consistently unsafe water for swimming. 70 percent of tests exceeded the EPA standard.
The water tested poorly in samples taken near Troy, Albany, and Rensselaer as well. Riverkeeper Water Quality Program Director Dan Shapley says most of the contamination in the river is from combined sewers that are designed to overflow in heavy rain events and old broken infrastructure dumping sewage straight into the Hudson.
"There’s over 660 of those including New York City. Over 100 in the capital region, all the way up to Glens Falls, Utica. So there’s a lot of sewage the flows in the Hudson on a rainy day," said Shapley.