A city in southern New York has dumped more than 50 million gallons of untreated wastewater into the Susquehanna River this month.It's probably not going to do anything as long as the water treatment at the downstream cities is up to snuff. But it does illustrate how the cities are failing to live up the their end of the Chesapeake Bay Diet, by cleaning up their wastewater treatment and how stormwater treatment is one of the big problems still facing the Bay.
The city of Binghamton, which lies less than 10 miles north of the Pennsylvania border, released the effluent in two separate incidents — one of which lasted more than six days. City officials blamed the discharge on heavy rains and flooding, according to the Times Leader, which provides coverage in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area.
The 464-mile-long river, which begins in Cooperstown, New York, and flows south into the Chesapeake Bay, passes between Lancaster and York counties.Numerous municipalities here draw drinking water from the river, including Lancaster city and Columbia Borough.
Charlotte Katzenmoyer, public works director for the city, said Wednesday that neither she nor anyone at Lancaster’s water plants was notified of the spill. “Which is disappointing, to say the least,” she said. “We certainly want to know about discharges like this.”
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation issued a statement saying no Pennsylvania municipalities were impacted by the wastewater spill. The New York State DEC said the discharge came from combined sewer overflow, which collects domestic sewage, industrial wastewater and stormwater runoff into a common pipe that flows into a wastewater treatment facility, the Times Leader reported.
At 7.5 gallons per cubic foot, 50 million gallons represents about 4 hours of the Susquehanna River flows at Oswego, assuming storm flows of 30,000 cfs. Less time if the flows were greater.