Testing the Waters

From Downloads

Two years ago, the fire at the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant at 125th Street and the Hudson River resulted in the release of millions of gallons of sewage into the water. Timely data about water quality became paramount. Boating clubs, fishermen and others who came in close contact with the water needed to know when it was safe to resume their activities — but were frustrated by a lack of useful information.

Last year, to supplement water quality data presented by government agencies, the NYC Water Trail Association in partnership with The River Project organized the Citizen’s Water Quality Testing Program, in which people volunteered to take weekly water samples at shoreline sites all around New York City (agencies generally collect samples mid-channel). The samples were tested for Enterococcus, an indicator of human waste.

See results of last year’s program HERE:

The 2013 program begins Wednesday, May 1 at 5pm, when Nina Zain offers a training session at The River Project’s field station on Pier 40. Participants agree to take a sample every Thursday morning starting May 23, and deliver samples to Ms. Zain at Pier 40 by noon. Weekly sampling continues for 20 weeks, with results posted online every Friday.

Ms. Zain and Rob Buchanan, coordinators of the program, are adding new sites and hoping to expand testing to difficult-to-understand locations. “We are always looking for more locations and participants,” Mr. Buchanan said. “People can volunteer as samplers, or just join our mailing list and see the results every Friday afternoon when we send them out.”

For details, email [email protected].

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