Monday, July 25, 2011

Update on the Sewage SNAFU.

This article provides a lot of useful if not terribly appetizing information.

Bottom line, there may still be a few more leaks over the next few days, as repairs proceed. And for the forseeable future, there will always be a risk of high bacteria levels in the Hudson after a heavy rain.

Dogs are not people. They tend to have a much higher tolerance for bacteria than we do--a legacy of their long ancestry as scavengers. To this day, stray dogs in third world villages all over the globe act as unpaid no-maintenance waste disposal systems, living off our garbage, saving thousands of human lives from disease outbreaks in the process.

So what's potentially dangerous for a human swimmer or kayaker may be perfectly okay for them--but they have their limits, as do all living things. The waters of the Hudson, even by Manhattan, are remarkably clean at times, but we still haven't figured out a way to dispose of our own bodily wastes without fouling the natural world around us. Or rather, we have figured out some ways to do this, but they cost a lot of money we'd rather spend on other things.

In the meantime, dogs do benefit greatly from swimming. The Hudson River is the only place us North Manhattanites can regularly take our dogs to swim. Use your best judgment, and hope for the best. But maybe wait another week or so, and check the NYC Parks Dept. website for advisories such as this. I personally am thinking we'll wait until at least next weekend before we let Max test the waters again.

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