RYE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A leak in Westchester County might mean millions of gallons of raw sewage are flowing into Long Island Sound.
As CBS2’s Erin Logan reported, scientists are calling the problem in Rye “chronic.”
What could be sewage-contaminated water is spilling into Blind Brook, just steps from downtown Rye.
“By our estimates, over 4.5 million gallons of sewage-polluted water has entered Blind Brook to this point,” Peter Linderoth, of Save the Sound, told Logan.
He said an investigation began when a resident reported a foul smell coming from a catch basin on Locust Avenue in early December.
“The results of that sampling effort came back elevated, which is indicative of sewage contamination,” said Linderoth.
He said there are no signs of drinking water being affected but he’s calling it a public health concern, as sewage-contaminated water can cause illnesses.
Given the time of year, Linderoth is hopeful people will stay away from Blind Brook. Located at Theodore Fremd and Elm Place, the brook flows through Rye into Milton Harbor and eventually Long Island Sound.
City Manager Marcus Serrano said he’s well aware of the problem.
“We don’t know if it’s raw sewage yet. We’re still under investigation,” he said.
The city admitted it’s faced with a challenge, Logan reported. So far, it’s tested residential and commercial sewer lines and there was no leakage found. Now, it’s working with the New York State Thruway Authority.
“Our pipes run under I-95, along the train tracks, and then come back across I-95 – which is six lanes of traffic, plus the shoulder, plus the median,” said Serrano. “We actually hired a contractor that’s going to go out there and scope and camera all the pipes to see if there is a break anywhere.”
Serrano said he hopes to have some answers in the next few weeks. He assured residents that fixing the problem is the city’s No. 1 priority.
The Department of Environmental Conservation told CBS2 it is keeping a close eye on the investigation.
Rye is already under the microscope after being fined $50,000 last May because of sewage overflow, which was unrelated to this problem.