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WAMC New York News
Tue August 17, 2010
Panel Releases Hudson River Dredge Report
By Dave Lucas
Albany, NY – An independent panel reviewing the cleanup of PCBs from the Hudson River has issued a report on the progress made so far... Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas has more...
PLEASE NOTE: A correction has been posted regarding this story.
The Hudson River is the largest federal Superfund site in the nation. PCBs dumped by General Electric at their Hudson Falls and Fort Edward plants continue to contaminate both the Upper and Lower Hudson River.
A panel of dredging experts has issued a draft report on the first phase of dredging, which took place last summer. The EPA asked the panel to study the results of the dredged PCB of ``hot spots'' along a six-mile stretch of river north of Albany last year. Their findings raise questions about how the cleanup will continue. Mark Behan is a spokesman for GE: "GE applauds the work of the seven independent scientists who evaluated the first phase of the Hudson River dredging project. We agree with the unanimous conclusion in their draft report that the performance standards established by EPA to govern the dredging project could not met in Phase 1 and cannot be met in Phase 2 without significant changes."
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing the dredging project. Dave King, director of the EPA's Hudson River field office, says the peer review panel has done a good job wading through the data that GE and the EPA both provided in trying to come up with practical solutions for continuing on into phase two. King notes the river poses some unique challenges for the dredging team. The panel's report suggests that performance standards be changed to enhgance productivity, PCBs stirred and released into the river water and resulting residual contamination.
The peer review panel's recommendations will be examined by the EPA, which then identifies to GE what they must do for Phase 2 of the dredging project. G-E will have 90 days to decide. If G-E opts out, a unilateral order could be issued ordering it to do Phase 2. Should G-E refuse to comply, the EPA would take over the project.
GE and the EPA have until August 27th to present any corrections to the panel. The panel's final report is due September 10th, to be followed by EPA's final decision.