Ironman May Cut Swim Due to Sewage Leak

August 10, 2012 Updated: August 20, 2012

NEW YORK—The Ironman U.S. Championship, scheduled to take place in New York City this Saturday, August 11, may cancel the swimming portion of the race due to a sewage line break in Tarrytown.

A public health advisory was issued Thursday morning by Rockland County Emergency Management, advising swimmers, boaters, kayakers, and other people who use the Hudson River and Rockland Lake State Park recreationally, to avoid contact with the water until further notice. The alert is set to expire August 16.

Several million gallons of chlorinated raw sewage is expected to be discharged into the Hudson River at Sleepy Hollow in Westchester County. “The treated sewage bypass is needed so that repairs can be made to the sewer line,” the advisory said. Chlorinated raw sewage may also be discharged into the Hudson River at Yonkers.

The ironman starts with a 2.4-mile swim, then a 112-mile bike ride on Palisades Interstate Parkway, and finally a 26.2-mile run through Manhattan.

Race organizer John Kroff told Bloomberg Businessweek, they will decide whether to cancel the swimming portion by Friday, Aug. 10.

“We’re not messing with water quality,” Kroff told the publication. “It depends on which way the water is flowing.” 

In 2010, a fire at a sewage plant meant 500 million gallons of sewage was dumped into the river two weeks before the race, but the race was still held as scheduled.

“The Hudson was flowing north,” Kroff told Bloomberg Businesweek. “The Hudson is tidal, so you just don’t know.”

About 2,500 athletes are set to participate in the New York City Ironman. General registration costs $895, and it is currently unknown if the athletes will receive any reimbursement if the swim section is cancelled, according to the Bloomberg Businessweek report.