City Working to Stop Raw Sewage
From Entering Hudson River

The Department of Environmental Conservation has been after the City of Beacon since the mid-nineties to do something about raw sewage that pours into the Fishkill Creek and Hudson River after heavy rains. But it took a Notice of Intent to Sue for Clean Water Act (CWA) violations against the City by Riverkeeper to finally get the city in motion. “We’re fortunate that the Attorney General held our feet to the fire on this,” said Beacon Mayor Steve Gold after last night’s City Council workshop.

It was Governor Andrew Cuomo,  Attorney General at the time, who started playing hardball in April 2010. Since then the city hired a company to access why the sewer system is still being overwhelmed by Inflow and Infiltration, which the city has been slowly addressing over the years. According to Gold, the assessment shows that it currently appears to be confined mainly to one branch of the system that serves parts of Beacon and Fishkill and runs from the bridge at Tioranda Avenue and 9D to the sewer treatment plant, crossing the creek twice and running alongside it most of the way. The Dutchess County Department of Health also got involved, and has been delaying building permits in Beacon until it can be demonstrated that any development will not add to the problem.

The company says the issue is sediment buildup in the pipes, which is theoretically a fairly straightforward fix. “We’ve secured a one million dollar bond to pay for the necessary repair and maintenance. The DEC is satisfied with our remediation plan” said Gold. A second company has already begun the repair work, and is expected to employ sonar cameras to examine the pipes once they’ve been cleared.

The view standing about 100 yards from the point of raw sewage discharge

Over the years, through various measures, the City has diverted approximately 3 million gallons of stormwater from the system, which is on paper technically a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4s), not a Combined Sewer Overflow system.   “This should take care of the problem,” says Beacon City Council Member George Mansfield, who entered politics after a sewage overflow on this same line destroyed his basement. “But you never know when you start opening pipes. They’ve already found a large pipe at the location of the overflow sewer in the video that is not on the map.”

Part of the problem, as The Hudson Valley Green reported last week in “Is Our Water Too Cheap?, is diverted maintenance. “If this doesn’t work,” said Gold, “we’re in big trouble.”

2 Responses to City Working to Stop Raw Sewage
From Entering Hudson River
  1. Daily Recap « Dutchess Digest
    March 3, 2011 | 1:10 am

    [...] has a “dancing [...]

  2. [...] talking about runoff… The Hudson Valley Green has a post reporting on the City of Beacon’s long standing problem of Raw sewage flowing into [...]

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