EPA to Conduct First Five-year Review of Hudson River PCB Cleanup

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently conducting a five-year review of the cleanup that has been conducted so far on the Hudson River PCBs Superfund site, which extends from Hudson Falls, N.Y., to New York City. The cleanup work is being performed in the Upper Hudson River north of Troy, N.Y. The purpose of this five-year review, which is legally required under the Superfund law within five years after the start of on-site construction, is to ensure that the cleanup is working as intended and continues to protect public health and the environment.

In conducting the five-year review, the EPA is reviewing site operation, maintenance and monitoring information. The plan for dredging underwent extensive review by the EPA and the General Electric Company at the end of the 2009 dredging program. The dredging was also reviewed by a panel of independent scientific experts at that time. The results of that evaluation will be summarized in this five-year review and will be supplemented with information gathered during the 2011 dredging season. The five-year review will also include a review of the 1984 cleanup plan for the areas of PCB-contaminated sediment upstream of the areas targeted for dredging. These areas, known as the remnant deposits, became exposed after the river water level dropped following removal of the Fort Edward Dam in 1973.

Between 1947 and 1977, an estimated 1.3 million pounds of PCBs were discharged into the river from two General Electric capacitor manufacturing plants located in Fort Edward and Hudson Falls, New York. The dredging of the Hudson River was designed to occur in two phases. The first phase of the dredging project was conducted in 2009 and the second and final phase began in June 2011. The cleanup is being conducted by General Electric Company under a legal agreement with the EPA.

Under the law, the ongoing five year review of the Hudson River dredging project must be completed by the end of April 2012. The results will be shared with the public and will be available on the EPA’s Hudson River website at www.epa.gov/hudson and in the local repositories established for the site: Edgewater Public Library, 49 Hudson Avenue, Edgewater, NJ 07020; Adriance Memorial Library, 93 Market Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601; NY State Library, Cultural Education Center, Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12230; Crandall Public Library, 251 Glen Street, Glens Falls, NY 12801; Saratoga County EMC, 50 W. High Street, Ballston Spa, NY 12020; EPA Hudson River Field Office, 421 Lower Main Street, Hudson Falls, NY 12839; and at the EPA Region 2 Superfund Records Center, 290 Broadway – 18th Floor, New York, NY 10007.

Project information can be found on the Internet at http://www.epa.gov/hudson and http://www.hudsondredgingdata.com.