Advice About Swimming in the Hudson River During Dredging in 2013
- Advice About Swimming in the Hudson River During Dredging in 2013 is also available in Portable Document Format (PDF, 526KB, 2pg.)
People should not swim in the Hudson River in the No Swim Areas near dredging operations and be aware of equipment and boat traffic in the Caution Area (see map). The New York State Department of Health always advises that people swim at a beach regulated by the state, counties, towns or villages whenever possible because these are monitored for safety and health and are posted for closures or swimming advisories. People who choose to swim in the Hudson can help protect their health by following the advice below.
No Swim Area
During 2013, dredging will occur south of the village of Fort Edward and in an area between the Fort Miller Dam and Lock 5 in Northumberland (see map). People should not swim in these No Swim Areas due to safety concerns from boat traffic and operating equipment. PCB levels in river water near dredging operations might also be higher when dredges and debris removal equipment are operating.
While dredging continues, large vessels will be moving between the dredge areas, the processing site north of Lock 7 and support areas in Moreau. This traffic presents safety concerns and people should have a heightened awareness when using the river in the Caution Area.
The DOH always advises that people swim at a regulated beach. However, General Advice is provided for people who choose to go in the water outside of regulated beaches.
- Don't swallow water and consider keeping your face and head out of the water when swimming. This reduces exposure to bacteria, parasites and other microorganisms that might make people sick by entering the body by swallowing, and through eyes, ears and nose.
- Avoid swimming in cloudy or discolored water as it may contain more microorganisms and affect a person's ability to see underwater hazards.
- Wash your hands after swimming, especially before eating, and shower when you are done swimming for the day to wash off river water and dirt.
- Take extra precautions near any dams or large watercraft because they can create undertows and dangerous currents. Never cross safety wires and other water hazard markers when recreating near dams.
Following these recommendations can help to reduce your exposure to microorganisms, chemicals and hazards while in the water.
Additional Information for Boaters and Jetskiers
Recreational boaters should avoid activities near dredge and project related operations due to equipment and safety concerns. Specific information for boaters who plan to travel near dredge operations or who use the Champlain Canal is available at www.hudsondredging.com. This site provides information about where dredge operations are occurring in the river, safety tips, rules and regulations, and relevant contact information.
The New York State Canal Corporation publishes Notices to Mariners to alert boaters of changes in operations or other issues.
The US Environmental Protection Agency also provides project information and water quality monitoring data at www.hudsondredgingdata.com.
About PCBs in the Hudson
Before dredging began, PCBs were present at low levels in the Hudson River water. During dredging, PCB levels increase in the river water near dredge operations and downstream. The Lower Hudson River, south of Albany, has shown no measurable increase in PCB concentrations during dredging.
General Electric is required to achieve water quality standards developed by the USEPA to control resuspension of PCBs in river water during dredging. The control level for PCBs in river water at Schuylerville (see map) is 500 parts per trillion, which is equal to the public drinking water standard for PCBs. If PCB levels exceed this control level, operations will be evaluated and may be modified to control resuspension and to protect water quality. This standard for PCBs was designed to protect public water supplies that rely on Hudson River water, but also provides protection for others that use the river, including swimmers.
Other questions or concerns?
Call the State Health Department at 518-402-7860 or 800-458-1158.