From May to October, Riverkeeper releases monthly reports about the results of its water quality testing program for the Hudson River and its tributaries, including the Saw Mill River. The first results for 2022 were posted on Riverkeeper’s website (www.riverkeeper.org), under Water Quality.
The program tests for enterococcus, a bacterium that lives in the intestines of humans, and that indicates the presence of sewage. The federal Environmental Protection Agency recommends possible temporary beach closures for entero levels above 60 cells/100 mL.
In the Enterprise’s coverage area, the only Hudson River testing site is Matthiessen Park in Irvington, where the count was 20 cells on May 23. Since 2008, the count at that location has exceeded 60 cells three times — in April 2017, and in May and September 2011.
To the west, the count was 41 cells at the Piermont Pier and 74 cells at the outfall pipe for the Orangetown Sewage Treatment Plant, also on May 23.
To the north, the counts were 337 cells at the Tarrytown Marina and 305 cells at Kingsland Point Park in Sleepy Hollow, both on May 24.
To the south, the counts were 10 cells at JFK Marina in Yonkers and 20 cells at the Yonkers Paddling and Rowing Club, both on May 12. On May 23, the count was 175 cells at the mouth of the Saw Mill River, between the paddling and rowing club and the Yonkers City Pier.
In the Saw Mill River, the counts were 31 cells at V.E. Macy Park in Ardsley and 63 cells at Farragut Avenue in Hastings, both on May 12.
In an email blast to Riverkeeper’s supporters, the co-director of that nonprofit’s science and patrol program, Dan Shapley, noted that about 80 percent of the samples from the Hudson met EPA standards. He asked if 80 percent is good enough. His answer was no.
To improve that percentage, he urged voters to approve the $4.2 billion New York State Clean Air, Clean Water, and Green Jobs Bond Act on the ballot in November 2022. He also called for Congress to pass the NY-NJ Watershed Protection Act, which would authorize up to $50 million annually through 2026 to protect and restore the Hudson-Raritan Estuary. To nudge Congress, visit the Riverkeeper website, and then click “Get Involved” and “Take Action.”