SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. (AP) — Partially treated sewage began gushing into the Hudson River on Thursday and officials on both sides of the waterway warned against direct contact with the water.
The discharge, likely to continue into Friday and reach millions of gallons, could endanger an Ironman swim scheduled for Saturday about 15 miles to the south.
Westchester County approved the "controlled discharge" at Sleepy Hollow so workers can repair a break in a sewer line in Tarrytown. The sewage is being chlorinated, but is otherwise raw and is bypassing a treatment plant.
"It's chlorinated, but it's still sewage, so we don't want anyone having direct contact," said county Health Department spokesman Heather McGill.
She said a much smaller amount of sewage from the original leak would be reaching the Hudson at Yonkers.
Westchester and Rockland counties issued advisories aimed specifically at swimmers, kayakers and windsurfers to avoid contact with the water.
The Westchester warning applies to the river at Croton-on-Hudson and points south; Rockland's covers Rockland Lake State Park and points south.
The Ironman U.S. Championship on Saturday includes a 2.4-mile swim in the Hudson off New York City as part of a triathlon. The swim's starting point is about 15 miles south of the discharge.
Jessica Weidensall, an Ironman spokeswoman, said in an emailed statement that organizers were "diligently monitoring the situation" and expected to know more on Friday.
"We will be sure of the water quality and that the venue is safe before we allow our athletes to swim on Saturday," she said.
McGill said Thursday afternoon that the river south of Yonkers, which would include the Ironman area, "is fine for recreational use" and said she does not expect that to change.
McGill said officials hope the repair can be finished by Friday morning.
Last year, a broken pipe in Ossining sent at least a million and a half gallons of sewage into a creek near the Hudson. And about 200 million gallons of raw sewage spewed into the Hudson when a treatment plant in Manhattan was taken offline after an engine room fire.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.