Spectacular views, but oh, that awful smell


They are luxurious cooperative apartments with a breathtaking view of the Hudson River. Yet, from time to time, that view comes with a foul odor, thanks to what some residents at Skyview-on-the-Hudson says is a wastewater treatment plant just across the city line in Yonkers.

Some of those residents visited Community Board 8’s environment and sanitation committee recently, telling members that while the problem does not affect all apartments, it has become worse in the last two years.

“I smell it, too,” said Jeremy Jutkowitz, a board member at the three-building high-rise complex located on Arlington Avenue. “Every once in a while at night time or maybe an evening, you get sewage on the wind.”

He and other residents believe that smell is coming from the Yonkers Joint Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The facility serves a population of more than 500,000 — a large portion of them in Westchester County. It treats an average of 100 millions gallons of materials each day, according to the Grace Communications Foundation, which works to make the public more aware of how such facilities impact the environment and health.

While the odor had not drifted into his apartment, Jutkowitz said he would sometimes get a whiff standing on his terrace. It has not changed how he goes about everyday life, but on much nicer weather days, the smell typically has him headed back indoors.

The matter was first brought to the attention of the Skyview board at its annual shareholder’s meeting last year when some residents expressed concerns about the odor from the facility, which is located a little more than a mile away.

What makes the overall issue worse is the claim the plant had, at least until recently, sent trucks transporting sludge to New Jersey at night using Riverdale Avenue. That was all done in the sight — and smell — line of Skyview.

While some are residents at the co-op smell foul odors, others were not even aware such an issue existed. Rachel Jeanty and John Piraino, who live at opposite sides of Skyview, said they never noticed an occasional sewage smell, but didn’t think too much of it.

People working and living at the neighboring Hebrew Home at Riverdale have smelled nothing, and no one has ever complained, said Wendy Steinberg, the assisted living facility’s spokeswoman.

Those that were bothered by what they said was coming from the plant reached out to U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, who in turn contacted outgoing Westchester County executive Rob Astorino last November. Engel repeated those efforts recently with newly sworn-in executive George Latimer, since the facility falls under his jurisdiction.

Engel told the residents in a letter he was able to re-route some of the trucks going to and from the plant away from residential streets. But there was likely a need for more action since some chemicals used to treat the water designed to reduce odor were no longer being utilized.

Catherine Cioffi, a spokeswoman for Latimer, said the county received Engel’s letter and was looking into the matter.

“I’d like to see this corrected,” Jutkowitz said. “I don’t think we should even have to, live with this sewage smell coming from Yonkers.”