Environmental Protection

GE dredges Hudson River for PCB in 2009

Panel Says Hudson Dredging Performance Standards Cannot be Met

Seven independent scientists recently evaluated the first phase of the Hudson River dredging project, concluding in their draft report that performance standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could not be met in Phase 1 or in Phase 2 without significant changes, according to a release from GE.

GE completed Phase 1 of the dredging project in October 2009, after five-and-a-half months in a six-mile stretch of the Upper Hudson River near Fort Edward in New York. The company removed an estimated 293,000 cy of polychlorinated biphenyl- or PCB-contaminated sediment, EPA said, but that amount came from only 10 of 18 targeted dredge areas because sediment contamination was deeper than expected in some areas.

On March 8, EPA and GE released their respective final evaluation reports for the dredging project (www.hudsondredgingdata.com and www.hudsondredging.com).

The agency also released a detailed technical assessment of the work as well as modifications to the engineering performance standards for dredging resuspension, residuals, and productivity for Phase 2 to the independent panel. The panel's final report will be posted on the EPA website.

Agreeing with the panel's draft report, GE said that

  • resuspension and redeposition of PCBs resulting from the dredging process itself pose significant concerns and warrant additional analysis;
  • limits should be established on the quantity of PCBs that dredging is permitted to resuspend and send downstream;
  • additional data should be collected and analyzed, and
  • a state-of-the-art, quantitative computer model should be jointly developed by EPA and GE to guide decisions about future dredging.

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