A city in southern New York has dumped more than 50 million gallons of untreated wastewater into the Susquehanna River this month.
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.
But, although a New York state law requires municipalities in New York to be informed of wastewater spills, the law does not apply to regions downriver.
Colleen Connolly, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, told the Times Leader that DEP was not notified by New York officials of the discharge.
Connolly also said she didn’t expect any harm from the spill, because the river is swollen with recent heavy rainfalls.
Public risks of untreated wastewater include a potential high level of pathogens, the Times Leader reported.