Last night at 9:30 p.m., the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant stopped discharging "untreated" sewage into the Hudson River. The plant, which has been in operation since 1986 and treats about 120 million gallons of a wastewater a day, was hobbled by a four-alarm fire on Wednesday that knocked out its engine room pumps. And it was quite an effort from the Department of Environmental Protection.

The NY Times reports, that, yes, on the hottest day of the year, "More than a hundred city workers and out-of-state contractors...scrambled...to repair" the plant. And "As hot as it was outside, it was even hotter inside the plant. Teams of two dozen Environmental Protection employees followed 20-minute shifts in the engine room with 20 minutes of cooling down. Still, three people were treated for heat exhaustion." And then there was the odor: One passer-by said, "It smells like a dead rat," and even the Times reporter called the situation "rancid."

The DEP explained it's working on a backup:

Wastewater is receiving primary treatment and chlorine disinfection, which are the key components of the sewage treatment process needed to restore water quality to the extent necessary to eliminate advisories at area beaches. DEP is still working around the clock to stabilize the operations that have been restored, and re-establish secondary treatment to the plant as soon as possible.

As a backup in the event of further operational disruptions, DEP is installing an additional pumping system in case any further issues with the existing system arise. In order to minimize the discharge of wastewater from the plant, DEP yesterday began performing some small “pump arounds”—pumping wastewater flow out of an 84-inch sewer at West 117th St. in Manhattan that normally flows to the plant and pumping into a 42-inch sewer at Frederick Douglass Boulevard and 117th, which flows to the Wards Island Wastewater Treatment Plant.

As for beaches, there are still some under advisory where "swimming and bathing not recommended": Cedar Grove, Midland Beach, South Beach on Staten Island and Sea Gate Beach and Sea Gate 42nd in Brooklyn.

Different environmental groups are keeping tabs of bacteria in the water; Riverkeeper's John Lipscomb was upbeat, "We’ve been doing work on the Gowanus Canal and New Town Creek and I’ve seen worse in those water ways after a regular old rainstorm." Ha!