Hudson River Sewage Won't Stop Ironman Race

The treated sewage bypass at Sleepy Hollow was needed so that repairs could be made to a sewer line, officials said

Repairs to a sewage line that caused partially treated sewage to be discharged into the Hudson River since Thursday have been completed, and the Ironman swim scheduled for Saturday about 15 miles south will go on. 

"Our team worked diligently with local environmental and health departments to monitor and thoroughly test the water," said Ironman race spokeswoman Emily Vicker. "The reports show the water is safe for swimming." 

Westchester County approved the "controlled discharge," estimated at 3.4 million gallons, at Sleepy Hollow so workers could repair a break in the sewer line in Tarrytown. The sewage had been chlorinated, but was otherwise raw and it bypassed a treatment plant.

"It's chlorinated, but it's still sewage, so we don't want anyone having direct contact," said county Health Department spokesman Heather McGill.

She said a much smaller amount of sewage from the original leak would be reaching the Hudson at Yonkers.

Westchester and Rockland counties had issued advisories aimed specifically at swimmers, kayakers and windsurfers to avoid contact with the water, but they were lifted by 11 p.m. Friday. 

The Westchester warning applied to the river at Croton-on-Hudson and points south; Rockland's covered Rockland Lake State Park and points south.

The Ironman U.S. Championship on Saturday includes a 2.4-mile swim in the Hudson off New York City as part of a triathlon. The swim's starting point is about 15 miles south of the discharge.

About 2,500 athletes from around the world are expected to compete in the first Ironman race in New York and New Jersey. The entire course totals 140.6 miles. 

Last year, a broken pipe in Ossining sent at least a million and a half gallons of sewage into a creek near the Hudson. And about 200 million gallons of raw sewage spewed into the Hudson when a treatment plant in Manhattan was taken offline after an engine room fire.

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