Surprise! A Historic Downtown Albany Building Has Been Draining Its Sewage Directly Into the Hudson Since 1913

(TU) ALBANY ó For more than than a century, a historic building on Broadway has not been hooked into the city’s sewer system, instead spilling its wastes into a storm drain going directly into the Hudson River.

City officials found the issue at the former Argus building at 412 Broadway last week as part of an investigation into the sewer system for the building next door, city Water Commissioner Joe Coffey said on Monday.

The five-story Argus building, he said, was never hooked into the sewer system when the city last installed new lines along Broadway in 1913. Instead, the building’s sewer line connected to an underground storm drain that went directly into the Hudson.

For many decades, the building served as offices for the architectural firm of Einhorn Yaffee Prescott† before being renovated several years ago into more than 30 apartments and a market.


It is difficult to tell how much sewage has gotten into the Hudson over the decades, he said, although a notice from the state Department of Environmental of Environmental Conservation estimated that the current rate was around five gallons a minute.

Coffey said the city Water Board will pay for the work needed to connect the Broadway building into the city sewer system and end the illegal discharges.

It turns out that maybe the Hudson River’s grossness isn’t all New York City’s fault. All this time I’ve been blaming that over-populated concrete jungle for the transformation the water undergoes from the beautiful crystal clear water in the Adirondacks to the brown muck dividing New Jersey and NYC.

Little did I (or anyone, apparently) know, we can point to one 5-story building right here in Albany for over 275 MILLION gallons of sewage over 105 years (of course I did the math).

I’m sure in the grand scheme of things this is a relatively small impact on the entire river, let alone our environment, but if one building isn’t connected to our sewage system, there’s gotta be more, right? I doubt the guy responsible for this bullshit back in 1913 never did it again, he got away with it! He didn’t do his job and we went to the goddamn moon before we caught this.

The good news is, it’s getting fixed. Your tax dollars are going to work! Also, be happy you’re not responsible for getting this fixed. You may hate your job, but at least you don’t have to navigate century old pipe systems in the middle of winter. That should put your life into some better perspective.



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