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Sewage Flows into Hudson River in a Torrent

The Hudson river is in the news again, for all the wrong reasons.

Civic authorities in the New York state are warning boaters and others who use the Hudson River of the potential health problems from the 7.5 million gallons of raw sewage that reached the river after a main broke Friday afternoon.

The biggest immediate health concern would be for anyone coming in contact with the sewage and ingesting bacteria that could cause a number of digestive problems, including stomach cramps and diarrhea, Winchester county county officials said.

"We've had no cases so far," said Mary Landrigan, a spokeswoman for the county's Health Department. "But we are continuing the advisory until we can gather more data about the impact of the sewage discharge."

People coming in contact with the river along the Westchester side were likely to be exposed to enough contamination that they should disinfect boats, equipment and themselves, health officials said.

On Friday afternoon, residents in the area of the Greystone Metro-North Railroad station in Yonkers called the county after they heard rushing water just north and east of the station.

A concrete pipe, measuring 4 feet in diameter, had broken when a nearby hillside, weakened by April's record rainfalls, broke off a 30-degree slope and slid down, carrying trees with it.

The ground's movement snapped the pipe and allowed raw sewage from as far north as Irvington to flow into a tidal wetlands just east of the railroad tracks and then into the river.

County and state environmental experts estimated that about a half million gallons of sewage ended up in the wetlands area and 7.5 million gallons went into the river.

The leak has not affected train service or residential sewer service, according to county officials.

Workers spent the better part of the next two days and nights building a 400-foot road back to the site of the break
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