BY TOM HESTER SR.
New Jersey’s oceanside beaches and shellfish beds are not affected by the sewage outflow from a major Manhattan sewage treatment discharge into the Hudson River opposite Edgewater, state Department of Environmental Protection officials said Friday evening.
But state health officials continue to strongly discourage swimming, kayaking, fishing and crabbing in the river from Liberty State Park north through Bergen County. They said they will announce when fishing and crabbing may resume.
DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said his staff is continuing to closely watch for any potential impacts of two days of raw sewage discharges into the river, pollution that was caused when the plant on Manhattan’s upper west side was disabled Wednesday afternoon. New York City officials said the plant was expected to go back on line Friday night.
"New Jersey will continue to be vigilant to ensure public health and safety,'' Martin said. “New York is working aggressively to handle this problem, and we're pleased they are decreasing sewage discharges. But we'll continue to monitor for any impacts these discharges may have on New Jersey.''
DEP scientists are continuing to take and analyze water samples from the river and to visually observe the waters for any effects from the discharges. So far, there has been no effluent or discharged materials observed floating on the water, no odors detected, and no visible plume from the sewage treatment plant.
The results of 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 will continue on Saturday.
New York City officials said two of the plant's five pump engines came back on line Friday and that wastewater is now being partially treated, while contractors continue to repair equipment, assess damage, and perform cleanup activities. New York officials also said the city will procure and install a backup pump system for the plant.