Nonprofit water quality watchdog Riverkeeper tested the Gowanus, Newtown Creek and other New York City waterways one week ago today, and the results were reported on the blog Pardon Me For Asking Wednesday. Riverkeeper found unacceptably high levels of bacterial contamination in the Gowanus Canal and at one but not both Newtown Creek test sites. However, the levels of bacteria were mostly lower than usual. Said Riverkeeper:
The three very high tides which occurred during the storm (Monday morning through Tuesday midday) brought unimaginable amounts of clean sea water into New York Harbor and appear to have “flushed” the entire harbor, including the sewage contamination released by combined sewer overflows and any pump station and sewer plant failures that occurred. The extreme contamination in the Gowanus Canal is probably due to additional, perhaps ongoing, sewage discharges from sewer overflows or bypasses into the Canal continuing after the tidal flooding ended.
Riverkeeper did not test for toxic waste, but said, nonetheless, it “is also concerned about the chemical, petroleum and floatable pollution (such as plastics) that undoubtedly entered the river, harbor and ocean as a result of the tidal flooding and subsequent ‘flush.’” After the jump, a chart shows Riverkeeper’s findings.