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Raw Sewage Flowing Into Hudson River Following Fire At Harlem Treatment Plant

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Raw sewage continues to flow into the Hudson River after a big fire at a water treatment plant.

Engineers are working around the clock to get the minimum of two out of the five engines up and running at the North River Waste Water Treatment Plant.

Until then, raw sewage is bypassing the plant and going straight into the river. Department of Environmental Protection officials said they are adding chlorine to the leaking sewage to reduce bacteria.

"The plant is not operating and as a result of that, around 5 p.m. yesterday, we began bypassing the plant. And that means there are some discharges of waste water and raw sewage into the Hudson River. Our goal is to get the plant up and running as soon as possible to end that," DEP Commissioner Cas Holloway told CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez.

WCBS 880's Rich Lamb: Over 120 Million Gallons Of Raw Sewage And Waste Water Have Poured Into The River


What's worse, swimming is now off limits at several New York beaches. The leak is spreading and creating a major health hazard.

Kayak instructor Mike Samuel will have a lot of down time this weekend. The downtown boathouse is dry docked because of the leak.

"This is the worst timing ever. I mean the hottest day of the year and nobody can use the river until at least Monday and who knows how long beyond that," Samuel said.

The city posted signs along the Hudson warning people to avoid swimming, canoeing or any activity that would entail direct contact with potentially contaminated water.

The DEP also tested water at nearby beaches and the Health Department has issued beach pollution advisories at South Beach, Midland Beach and Cedar Grove Beach on Staten Island and Sea Gate in Brooklyn.

People can still go to those beaches, but they're advised not to go in the water until the advisories are lifted.

1010 WINS' Sonia Rincon reports: Don't Go In The Water


"If you were planning recreational activity in the Hudson where you could come in contact with the water...then you shouldn't do that," Holloway told 1010 WINS.

Smoke poured from plant at West 135th Street near the Henry Hudson Parkway on Wednesday. The fire in the engine room shut down the plant and it stopped treating waste water from upper Manhattan.

It is unclear what caused the explosion in the engine room.

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