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Billions of gallons of sewage flow into NY waters
ALBANY (AP) -- Billions of gallons of untreated sewage flow into New York waterways annually, but it remains difficult to tell when and where to avoid contact because sewage plant operators aren't yet following a new law mandating prompt public notice.
Overflows of combined storm water and human waste from municipal sewer plants occur often after heavy rains into big rivers like the Hudson, Mohawk and Niagara as well as smaller tributaries and other waterways.
Plant shutdowns and broken pipes in aging systems dump less frequent but more concentrated human wastewater in the waterways.
A law effective May 1 requires municipal plant operators to notify health officials within two hours of discharges and the public within four hours. But that's not happening yet.
State environmental officials recently began daily online updates of spill reports.