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NY/NJ Baykeeper fights for access to fishable, swimmable, clean waterways across the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary.
NY/NJ Baykeeper continues to be at the forefront of many environmental advocacy and legal campaigns.
The NY-NJ Harbor Estuary, also known as the Hudson-Raritan Estuary, is a system of waterways and habitats that form one of the most intricate natural harbors in the world. Since 1989, NY/NJ Baykeeper has worked to protect, preserve and restore the environment of the most urban estuary on Earth.
NY/NJ Baykeeper holds exciting events all year round! Please check our Events calendar regularly to stay in the loop. Hope to see you there!
The fight for clean water needs you! Your support today will protect, preserve, and restore the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary! Members enjoy cool merch and discounts to Baykeeper events!
There are so many ways to donate! Your donation today helps ensure a clean, swimmable, fishable watershed for our families and future generations.
Love oysters? Boats? Beach cleanups? Kayaking? Check out our many exciting volunteer opportunities! There's something for everyone!
Every year at least 23 billion gallons of untreated raw sewage are dumped into New Jersey’s rivers, mainly the Hudson, Passaic, Hackensack, Raritan, and Delaware rivers. As little as a twentieth of an inch of rain can send dangerous mix of bacteria and pollutants straight into many of New Jersey’s rivers.
A Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) is an overflow of untreated sewage and stormwater into local waterbodies. How does this happen? Combined sewer systems are an outdated system used in older cities for collecting rainwater runoff and municipal and industrial wastewater/sewage and then transporting the water to a wastewater treatment plant. However, when it rains, the system becomes stressed. When it rains, the water volume in a combined sewer system can exceed the capacity of the system. When this happens, raw, untreated sewage is discharged directly to nearby rivers or other waterbodies. New Jersey has over 200 Combined Sewer Outfalls.
Risk the public – Raw sewage can carry bacteria, viruses, protozoa, intestinal worms, and fungi. Contact with these contaminants can lead to diseases ranging from mild gastroenteritis (the stomach flu) to severe water-borne illnesses such as cholera and dysentery. Residents may come in contact with contaminated water by means of kayaking, swimming, or fishing. For your safety, NY/NJ Baykeeper suggests avoiding contact with affected river water during and at least 72 hours after rainfall. If you have ever gotten sick from being in or near the water in New Jersey, email [email protected] with your story.
The NJ Department of Environmental Protection issued CSO permits to all 21 CSO municipalities in 2015. Permittees are working on Long Term Control Plans to reduce the amount of stormwater that flows into the Combined Sewer System. NY/NJ Baykeeper is working with the permittees to ensure that green infrastructure is part of this plan. More information about the permits can be found here. Dry weather discharges are a violation of the existing CSO permit and should be reported to Baykeeper and the DEP at 1-877-WARN-DEP.
Click here for our downloadable brochure on CSOs.
Map of CSOs found in NJ
You don’t! The water is not always dangerous, but for the rivers (and beaches along Raritan and Newark Bay that are not official “swimming” beaches), there is no system to tell people when it is or when it is not safe to go in the water. In fact, the State of New Jersey does not even test these rivers and bays to determine whether or not they are safe. There are usually no signs showing people where the sewage enters the water and no warning system to tell people when the water is unsafe.
Click to read a Newark Star-Ledger article about CSOs in New Jersey.
Click to read our NY/NJ Baykeeper’s Policy Paper about Low Impact Design.
Click to read about CSOs in New York.
Click to learn about what New York City is doing to address CSOs.