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Stay Out of the River South of Ossining

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – Tom Nosworthy looked out over the Hudson River, where millions of gallons of raw sewage had spilled into the water since Wednesday and shook his head.

"Things break all the time," Nosworthy, a school bus driver in Dobbs Ferry, said. "That could happen to anybody. You can't stop that from happening."

Others who came to Dobbs Ferry's Waterfront Park just wanted to know for sure when the water would be safe again.

"The only thing I want to know is how long before I can dip," said Lesla Calix, who sat by the waterfront to cool off.

No notices were issued in Hastings about using the Hudson River Friday afternoon after sewage began pouring into the river.

"We haven't received any notifications to put out a notice to folks to be careful in their water activities," said Hastings Village Manager Francis Frobel.

On Friday the county Department of Health lifted restrictions on swimming, kayaking and windsurfing for parts of the Hudson River from Ossining north.

"These areas are outside the area affected by the wastewater being released," county health officials said.

For areas south of Ossining however, county health officials recommended no direct contact with Hudson River waters but did not restrict boating. For those who fish, health officials said they should practice "catch and release" for all points south of Ossining.

Millions of gallons of untreated sewage began dumping into the Hudson River on Wednesday at around 5:15 p.m. after a fire started in the North River wastewater treatment plant on West 135th Street and 12th Avenue in Manhattan from one of the plant's pump engines.

New York City Department of Environmental Protection officials said that their department is working as quickly as possible to get the plant running again but "the estimated time to bring the plant back online is undetermined."

According to Paul Gallay, the president of Riverkeeper, an Ossining-based environmental watchdog organization that regularly tests the Hudson waters for levels of bacteria, swimming in waters containing unsafe levels of bacteria could lead to gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea or infection of wounds.

Riverkeeper boat captain John Lipscomb sampled waters along the Hudson from the Tappan Zee Bridge down to Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan Thursday. The organization was awaiting test results, which were expected Friday afternoon, said Riverkeeper spokeswoman Tina Posterli

"It's pretty significant. Our boat captain said the test results are probably going to show a picture of what this river was like four decades ago at a time when corporate polluters weren't held accountable," Posterli said.

Did the sewage catastrophe affect your plans for the weekend? Let us know in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter .

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