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Waterkeepers: Lake George & The Hudson River

By Dave Lucas


Albany, NY – Environmentalists say efforts at curbing pollution in two of New York's largest waterbodies will ensure they are "fishable, swimmable and drinkable" for future generations. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Many types of pollutants have contaminated the Hudson River over the last several decades. It was used as an industrial waste dump by people and companies that had no intention of harming the natural resource. Popular belief leaned toward the idea that the river would clean itself, and we know today that is not the case. Rocky Ferraro is executive director of the Capital District Regional Planning Commission.

During heavy rain events, existing treatment plants often discharge waste water directly into the river, adding to the amount of suspended pollutants.

Ferraro says efforts at cutting sewage pollution will result in higher tax bills being issued by river-bordering municipalities. Plans include an online system to alert the public on days when overflow dumping occurs - no guarantee that people will stay out of the river - John Lipscomb is the patrol boat captain for the watchdog group, Riverkeeper, which periodically conducts water quality tests in the Hudson.

Chris Navitsky is the Lake George Waterkeeper: the lake is not connected to the Hudson, but the two share some pollution concerns, including invasive species and waste-water. The lake has a bigger problem with storm-water runoff, which includes "salt" used in winter highway maintenance.

Navitsky says we are all responsible for keeping our lakes and rivers clean.

While water quality improvement plans can run in the millions of dollars, citizens are behind campaigns for clean water Again, Riverkeeper's John Lipscomb:

From PCB dredging in Ft. Edward to cleanup in New York Harbor, recent efforts to restore the Hudson River, one of the most studied waterways on the globe, has been intense. Will we see it upgraded to "pristine" in our lifetimes? Rocco Ferraro beleives we're well on the way toward that goal.