CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. — Millions of gallons of sewage being diverted from a broken sewer line in Tarrytown spilled into the Hudson River, causing the closure of Croton Point Park beach Thursday as residents were warned to avoid direct contact with the river.
Many village residents and parkgoers at Croton Point and Senasqua Park were unaware or unsurprised at the sewage spill into the Hudson.
"This happened a number of times before. The information I have seems to make it less of an event," said Steve Jennings, director of the Croton Sailing School, a summer camp program that sails off Senasqua Park.
Sailing students are directed to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer after getting out of the river, Jennings said. Students do not swim in the river and are told to avoid direct contact with the water, he said.
As the sewage is diverted from a broken line, millions of gallons of sewage were expected to dump into the river, although officials have declined to estimate the exact amount. Westchester County Department of Environmental Facilities officials are hoping to have the line fixed Friday.
The sewage is being treated with chlorine, county Health Department officials said. Boaters, kayakers and swimmers are advised to avoid contact with the water from Croton Point Park and south.
"The Hudson doesn't have a good reputation," Peekskill resident Alex Sherwood said. Of swimming in the Hudson, he said, "I've done it before, but it's not something I plan to do." Sherwood was fishing Thursday afternoon, in Senasqua Park, but says he never eats fish out of the Hudson and says the activity is purely recreational.
Batya Halpern, a 13-year Croton resident, was riding her bike in Croton Point Park with fellow Croton resident Lorie Jo Siegel. Halpern said she was unaware the spill had happened, but nevertheless wouldn't use the river. "I would never dream of swimming in the Hudson River," she said.
"What is going on? Don't people take care of things?" asked Siegel.
The Croton River, which has a mouth at Hudson River and is also tidal, has not been affected, Croton Village Manager Abraham Zambrano said.
"We have not gotten any kind of a report from the county here. If it had been in Ossining we would be worried about it, but Tarrytown's pretty far down," Zambrano said. "Thank god, we've never had any kind of a problem like that."
It's unclear how the spill could affect the Ironman triathlon, which includes a 2.4-mile swim in the Hudson and is scheduled for Saturday.