Plant Failure Forces Wastewater Discharge

Friday, June 26, 2015 @ 05:06 PM gHale

Because of a mechanical issue at the Washington County sewage treatment plant, 1.2 million gallons of partially treated wastewater discharged into the Hudson River Wednesday.

The material was “not sewage” but was partially treated “effluent,” said Joseph Brilling, director of Washington County Sewer District II, which operates a sewage treatment plant in Fort Edward, NY. “There’s no danger to anybody.”

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Asked how far along in the treatment process the material was, Brilling said “As far along as we could get it (Wednesday).” He said what caused the discharge was under investigation.

Details of the spill were on a state website set up this year that documents sewage plant problems so the information is more readily available to the public.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) was looking into the matter.

The discharge was one of two reported on a local stretch of the Hudson River this week. The Glens Falls wastewater treatment plant also sent 21,000 gallons of raw sewage into the river over the course of a few minutes during heavy rain on Tuesday.

The Washington County plant has a years-long history of environmental issues. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website showed the plant was out of compliance for 10 of the last 12 quarters, including “significant” non-compliance during four of those quarters.

It also lists enforcement actions that included an $110,000 fine as part of a consent order with the DEC in 2012, which occurred after the plant repeatedly exceeded its capacity.

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