From the Queens Chronicle:
There are more harmful bacteria in Astoria’s Hallets Cove than in the city’s most “horrifically polluted” waterways, such as the infamous Newtown Creek, new data shows. And nobody knows why, though experts suspect an illegal sewer line.
“There’s a risk inherent in coming out into this water,” said Victoria Olson, who helps run a free kayaking program at Socrates Sculpture Park Beach at Hallets Cove. She is also chair of the Long Island City Community Boathouse, a nonprofit member of the New York City Water Trail Association.
“You can get fecal matter in your mucus membranes and have an adverse reaction,” Olson explained.
Hallets Cove, at Vernon Boulevard and 31st Avenue, had the most consistently high levels of Enterococcus bacteria — from human feces — out of 25 area waterfront sites tested this summer for the Citizens’ Water Quality Testing Project, run by the Water Trail Association. Elevated levels of Enterococci make for unsafe swimming conditions, and the water in the cove often contains 10 times the safe limit. The project’s organizers don’t know the source of the pollution and want the city’s Department of Environmental Protection to find out what’s wrong.
“We recently became aware of this issue and are looking into it,” said DEP spokesman Angel Roman, responding to phone calls with an emailed one-sentence statement. He declined to answer any other questions.
On top of that, the rest of Astoria smells like crap again.