Hudson River Water Quality

In 2008, the Albany Pool Communities (APCs) initiated a comprehensive modeling, mapping  and water quality sampling program. This program was supported in part by grants from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program and the New York State Department of State’s Local Government Efficiency Program. Samples were collected during dry and wet weather at seven tributary locations and five Hudson River locations.  This program helped define the baseline conditions and informed the communities of the projects that would have the most impact on water quality.  The results of the sampling programs can be accessed at below.   In 2008, samples were collected for fecal coliform, E. coli, and field parameters (dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, and specific conductance). The 2009 sampling effort only included samples from two of the river transects, RT1-RC and RT3A-RC, for biological oxygen demand, nutrients (ammonia nitrogen, total phosphorous), and field parameters.

Click to enlarge this map of PCCMP sampling sites

The Long-Term Control Plan (LTCP) and Order on Consent issued by DEC mandated a Post Construction Compliance Monitoring (PCCM) – a detailed report card on water quality – starting in 2015. This program sampled for fecal coliform only. The program mandated that additional sampling programs were repeated in 2016, 2017, 2022 and 2027. The report card for the first three years of LTCP implementation shows water quality improvements and trends after the implementation of disinfection at the treatment plants, increased pump capacity at district pump stations and regulator retrofits.  Scroll down to view the 2016, 2016 and 2017 data for Transects 1, 3 and 9.

Under the PCCM the Districts collected water samples every Wednesday over a four-month to six-month period beginning May 1 through October 31, spanning the recreational season of the river. The data was assessed to determine the water quality of the river. In 2017, a total of 26 sampling events were completed at the 16 sampling locations during the recreational season. For each sampling event, one sample was collected at each sampling location for a total of 21 fecal samples per circuit (nine river transects, seven tributaries, and three WWTP discharges, and two duplicate samples). The communities performed 47 additional sampling events at RT-9 to assess river response time (how long after a CSO discharge during wet weather would it take for the river to return a certain bacterial level).

Sampling events were classified into three different types, dry weather events, wet weather events, and transition events. Dry weather events were defined as having a minimum of 72 hours  of dry weather proor to a sampling run. Wet weather events were  defined to meet the following criteria:

  • Be a community-wide storm event;
  • Have a rainfall volume of  0.15 to 0.45 inches
  • Have a predicted duration of 3 to 9 hours, and;
  • Have a minimum of 48 hours of dry weather prior to a ​storm event.​

Dry Weather Data Assessment and Observations

The data collected shows an overall improvement in water quality since 2008 in the RT2 and RT9 locations, and consistent quality with slight change in RT1, RT3A, and RT6 locations The headwater concentration at RT1 is consistent from 2008 through 2017 with very little variation year to year, for the years’ samples were collected and analyzed. The water quality at RT2, shows a consistent decrease in fecal coliform concentrations, with each year sampled lower than the last. Water quality at RT6 remained constant from 2008 through 2017. Water quality at RT9 increased from 2008, though not as smoothly as at RT2-RC.  This demonstrates the improvements made in treatment facilities, pump stations and regulators are having a positive impact on water quality.

Wet Weather Data Assessment and Observations

The monthly geometric means for the 2017 season all showed improved water quality as compared to the data observed in 2015, except in October which demonstrated seasonally high fecal coliform counts all three years. Four out of six months showed compliance with the water quality standard at RT9 in 2017, whereas only one month was in compliance with the water quality standard during 2015. The overall data trend shows a decrease in fecal coliform since 2015. This may be attributed to the APCs implementing various projects required by the LTCP, which seems to be positively impacting the water quality of the Hudson River. 

Performance Metrics

 

For more in-depth sapling data, please check out the baseline reports and detailed results of our sampling program reports linked below.

Baseline data for the Albany Pool CSO Long Term Control Plan

Sampling Program Results

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