When I was growing up in Cold Spring, New York, my friends and I would walk down to the river on humid, August afternoons and swim. We’d go in off the beach at Little Stony Point, or jump off the rocks near Garrison; one unbearably hot day we jumped off the pier at the waterfront and the police showed up, threatening to call our parents or our school principal. My memories of swimming in the Hudson are of glistening skin and silty mud, high speed tubing and slow sailing. As I work with Riverkeeper and become increasingly aware of pollutants in the water, I’ve been doing more research and trying to figure out where its safe to swim and where it isn’t.
On the most recent Riverkeeper water sampling trip, all of our samples, minus the last 15 which hadn’t been processed yet, passed the EnteroAlert requirements for swimmable water. While that was exciting to hear, I also know that we haven’t had rain in over a week. When it rains, street runoff and sewage overflow find their way into the river through drains and pipes, making the river unswimmable in many places.
I went swimming with some friends yesterday, and hours after drying off discovered that one of the Indian Point reactors had been shut down due to a leak. Living only five miles downriver from the unreliable (to put it lightly) power plant, I worry about the state of the plant. It has been operating without a license for almost two years now, and is trying to get that license renewed for another twenty years. If the plant isn’t reliable now, how does Entergy think it could possibly be reliable for another two decades?
I’m still learning about the polluting threats to the Hudson, and hope that they can be reduced and enforced against so that boaters and swimmers can keep enjoying the river. School’s out, the 8 Bridges athletes dive in, and Sundays at Croton Point are crowded with hundreds of boats; let’s try to clean up for everyone.