Riverkeeper Launches Campaign to Pass Sewage Right to Know Law in New York


On Friday, October 14, 2011, Riverkeeper, along with two dozen partners and supporters, testified in support of a state law that would require public notification of sewage contamination in our waterways. Currently when sewage is discharged into the waters in which we swim, boat and fish there is no requirement that the public be notified.

This leaves millions of citizens at risk of contracting waterborne illnesses from exposure to pathogens in sewage-laden water. Nationwide, waterborne illnesses are on the rise.

Tracy Brown at hearing on sewage right to know la

Tracy Brown testifies on behalf of Riverkeeper. Video on YouTube

In five years of testing, Riverkeeper’s patrol boat found that Hudson River water is unsafe for swimming more than 20% of the time we tested. Too often, our monthly water quality emails were the only public notification of these unsafe conditions.
Riverkeeper thanks everyone who has joined our call for the public’s right to know by signing our petition and submitting testimony. There will be many more opportunities to participate in and support this campaign in the coming months so stay tuned!

“Sometimes people don’t see the sewage coming up and children are playing in it.”
– Susan Cleaver
Journalist, Clean Water Activist
“Individuals get sick from microbial infections that occur from exposure on a single day, at a specific location. They do not get sick from exposure to “average” conditions.”

– Gregory O’Mullan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Queens College, CUNY
“We want informed residents, not only for their own safety, but also so that they can be part of developing solutions for these problems with government officials, scientists and environmental activists.”
– Connie Coker MSN, CNM
Rockland County Legislator
“For improved notification “groups like MWA and Riverkeeper are probably the most effective because they are talking directly to the people who are planning on getting on the water and those are the people we are most concerned about, but everybody has the right to know.”

– Venetia Lannon
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
“I would suggest that this bill be called not the Sewage Right to Know but the Sewage Need to Know because we all have a need to know about this issue.”

– Neal Halloran
Clean Water Activist

Read more about Friday’s Hearing and see video of the testimonies.

Thank you for caring about our waterways!

John Lipscomb, Tracy Brown  & Robert Friedman
Boat & Water Quality Program

Sign Riverkeeper’s petition in support of notification!



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