Mary MuellerApr 8, 2017, 1:05 pmApr 9, 2017, 5:54 am

Volunteers learn to test water for sewage pollution on Hudson River

Activists from the areas of the Saw Mill, Bronx, Pocantico and Sparkill watersheds want to shed light on pollution issues

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Along the Hudson River in Yonkers, dozens of volunteers from various water activist groups are learning how to test our waterways for sewage pollution.

“Folks here represent four watersheds: the Saw Mill River, the Bronx River, the Pocantico River and Sparkill Creek, which is over actually across the river in Rockland County," noted Ryan Palmer, Director of the Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak.

Palmer also remarked that many of these waterways have sewer pollution from leaking sewer pipes or septic systems, saying, "Most of them are pretty alarming. Most of them fail the EPA criteria for a swimming beach."

Sewage pollution can also be deadly to the fish. Volunteers hope that by learning how to test the pollution levels, they can keep Westchester and Rockland County’s waters beautiful and safe for fishing, boating, and more.

Volunteer Robert Hothan of Yonkers loves the water and doesn't want to see it destroyed, so he says it was important to attend today's training.

“I am either in, on or under the water for most of the summer,” said Hothan. “And really, most of my life, I was a sailor and a scuba diver, and a NY Police scuba diver. Some of the things I saw as a diver were unconscionable.”

Hothan and Palmer both hope that with more testing comes more awareness of the pollution issues. They say the test results are useful in helping cities make changes to keep their waters cleaner.

Water-testing season begins in May and volunteers tell FiOS1 News they will be ready by then.

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