Newspaper: NY had big sewage spill, didn't report it on time

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jul. 8, 2017 at 10:06 a.m.



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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's capital city has spilled 4 million gallons (15 million liters) of sewage into the Hudson River in the last two weeks and didn't meet state requirements for reporting the problem quickly, a newspaper reported.

Albany filed notice of the spills with the state Department of Environmental Conservation on Friday afternoon, though the spills started June 23 and a 2013 state law requires reporting to the agency within two hours and to the public within four hours, the Times Union wrote .

A mayoral spokesman in nearby Troy, John Salka, also told the newspaper there were sewage spills in that city, but he couldn't provide details. Troy hadn't yet filed its notice Friday.

Much of the spillage happened during heavy rains in the area last week. Both cities have systems that combine stormwater and sanitary sewage. They're meant to prevent treatment plants from being overwhelmed in big rains by letting wastewater flow into the river instead.

Cities that violate reporting requirements on discharges can be fined up to $37,500 a day, DEC spokeswoman Erica Ringewald said.

"As a result of recent wet weather with limited discharge reporting, DEC will continue to investigate the potential for unreported combined sewer overflows," she added.

Troy and Albany officials said reporting lagged because the responsibility wasn't handed off during staff vacations.

Albany Water Commissioner Joe Coffey says the city now has a new procedure in place to ensure proper reporting. Salka says Troy is working on resolving the problem.

State and federal environmental regulators announced a $136 million plan in 2014 to reduce the amount of combined-sewer discharges in Albany, Troy and some nearby communities.

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