‘Westchester sewer line break leaks raw sewage’

To the Editor,

Thank you for your recent article, “Westchester sewer line break leaks raw sewage,” published on March 4 on the break in the sewer line that runs under Beaver Swamp Brook near the Rye-Harrison border.

For the past two years, Save the Sound has been monitoring the water quality in Beaver Swamp Brook, documenting alarmingly high fecal bacteria levels in this area, with concentrations sometimes reaching 100 times the limit for safe swimming. We have published these findings on our website and reported them to the public, associated municipalities, Westchester County and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, DEC, repeatedly, calling for an investigation of the source and timely repairs.

Despite this documentation of a sewage contamination hot spot, measured at Rye Neck High School, no actions were taken to examine the sewer lines in the brook to find the “softball-sized hole in the pipe” you reported on. As a result, the city of Rye and Westchester County suffered a major sewage line break, which was more costly to repair and has taken a heavier toll on the local environment and residents.

This lack of proactive maintenance of our sewer lines, and the costly resulting pollution, is the reason why Save the Sound has taken legal action against Westchester County and the 11 municipalities connected to the Sound Shore sewage treatment plants. Your article correctly stated that the “softball-sized hole” in a pipe below the brook allowed water, rocks and sediment to enter the pipe. However, you missed the fact that it also allows raw sewage to flow into our waterways.

It is our sincere hope that our legal action will result in more proactive maintenance of our sewer lines, keeping costs down and providing cleaner, safer waterways for all the residents of Westchester County.

Tracy Brown,
Director of Western Sound programs, Save the Sound

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