The Hudson River Is Even Grosser Than You Thought

July 19, 2013 | Andy Cush

Everyone knows the Hudson River is nasty: nastier than the East River, nastier than the Harlem River–nearly as nasty as the Gowanus Canal. But surprise! New research shows it’s even more disgusting than we thought. According to a study by Columbia University biologists published in the Journal of Water and Health, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are now plaguing the river as far north as the Tappan Zee Bridge and as far south as downtown Manhattan.

And poop is a possible culprit. “If you find antibiotic-resistant bacteria in an ecosystem, it’s hard to know where they’re coming from,” said Andrew Juhl, a co-author. “In the Hudson, we have a strong case to make that it’s coming from untreated sewage.”

The worst offending locations were Flushing Bay near LaGuardia, Newtown Creek, West 125th street, Yonkers, and sewage outfall pipes in Rockland County.

So what does that mean? If you swim and the Hudson and catch a bacterial infection, it may be difficult to treat, according to Dr. Stephen Morse, an infectious disease epidemiologist. “If I were inclined to swim in the Hudson, quite truthfully I’d look to this paper for the places to stay away from.”

(Photo: Ajay Tallam/Flickr)