Upper Hudson River Cleanup to Resume in May (USA)

GE will begin the second phase of the Upper Hudson River cleanup in May 2011. The approach to dredging and disposal will be similar to what was undertaken in 2009, when 286,000 cubic yards, or 329,000 tons, of river sediment was removed. In 2011, approximately 350,000 cubic yards, or 400,000 tons, of sediment will be dredged.

The engineering design for Phase 2 already has been refined, based on technical discussions between GE, EPA and the recommendations of a panel of independent scientists who evaluated the first phase of dredging. All of GE’s work is approved and overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Barges filled with dredged sediment will be pushed by tugs through Lock 7 of the Champlain Canal to the wharf at the Processing, Treatment and Transportation Facility that GE operates. Sediments will be unloaded, processed and dewatered and will be loaded onto railcars for disposal at federally permitted waste disposal facilities. Water removed from the sediments will be treated at GE’s water treatment facility on that site and then discharged to the Champlain Canal.

Phase 2 of the cleanup is expected to take five to seven years to complete. Approximately 2.4 million cubic yards of sediment will be removed from a 40-mile stretch of river (Fort Edward to Troy).

The same type of dredging equipment will be used to remove sediments from the river bottom in 2011 as was used in Phase 1. Four to six dredges are expected to operate in the river this Summer and Fall. In 2009, more dredges were used because dredging was performed simultaneously in the two channels around Rogers Island and the eastern channel of Griffin Island. This year, dredging will proceed north to south in the main stem of the Hudson.

GE is evaluating contractors to perform additional activities this year, which include: operation of the processing facility; operation of the rail yard; rail transportation and railcars; disposal of the processed material; bathymetric survey work; monitoring of river conditions during dredging; and habitat reconstruction. For dredging project products and services, GE’s contractors will continue to rely on local businesses, vendors, sub-contractors and service providers. More than 200 Capital Region businesses were hired during the first phase of the work.

GE has prepared or is preparing detailed work plans covering all of the major aspects of the project. The work plans are reviewed and approved by EPA. They include the Community Health and Safety Plan, a plan to ensure the quality of data collected during the work, a plan to address transportation and disposal of processed material, and a plan to address compliance with the engineering and quality-of-life performance standards EPA established for the project.

In the interim between Phase 1 and Phase 2, GE and EPA worked together to make improvements to the project based on the lessons learned in Phase 1 and a shared commitment to make dredging more efficient and productive in Phase 2. To improve productivity and minimize resuspension of PCBs during dredging, the number of dredge passes in dredge areas will be reduced. The process for certifying that dredge areas have been completed has been simplified. To improve productivity and reduce the instances of repetitive, non-productive dredging, dredging will be halted in areas if bedrock or clay is encountered.

As in Phase 1, capping will be used in isolated areas to cover low levels of recalcitrant PCBs remaining in sediments even after repeated dredging passes.

As a result of GE’s collection of 3,900 additional sediment samples last fall, dredging will proceed more efficiently because the additional data on depth and location of PCBs has provided an improved understanding of the PCBs targeted for removal.

GE also is investing in improvements to the processing facility to improve productivity there. Processing equipment at the wharf (the trommel) will be modified and pumps and wharf fenders are being replaced.

GE is committed to keeping the community informed of the progress of the cleanup. In advance of dredging, GE representatives will be visiting residents in the vicinity of this year’s cleanup to provide them with additional information. To provide information on this year’s work, a community meeting has been scheduled at the Fort Edward Firehouse on Thursday, April 14, from 7:00-9:00 p.m.


Source: GE, April 7, 2011

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