Funding for Glens Falls to Boost Hudson River Dredging (USA)
Today, following his effort to push for Glens Falls, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that the Environmental Protection Agency has selected the City of Glens Falls for a highly competitive environmental workforce development and job training grant.
This award comes on the heels of Schumer calling EPA leadership directly on the city’s behalf. Training will be geared towards meeting the needs of the Hudson River Dredging Superfund project and other local environmental cleanup and green construction projects. Local 773 of the Plumbers & Steamfitters Union recently began construction of a regional training site for plumbers and high-tech construction workers in Tech Meadows Industrial Park. This training grant will help them prepare workers to handle various hazardous materials from lead-based paint to asbestos.
“This crucial investment is a win-win for Glens Falls’ local economy, its workers, and the environment,” said Schumer. “As the good book says, ‘Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.’ By enhancing the skills of Glens Falls’ workers and allowing them to undertake vital projects, like the Hudson River Dredging Superfund project, that’s what this grant will do. This is a shot in the arm for the local economy, and as a result Glens Falls and its workforce will be better off for years to come.”
Glens Falls Mayor Jack Diamond stated, “Today’s announcement by Senator Schumer and EPA of the $200,000 grant for job training is the next step in putting the newly established Local 773 Regional Job Training Center at Tech Meadows on the map. I thank Senator Schumer for his advocacy and leadership and his continued support for this region in securing this critical grant.”
The Hudson River Dredging Project is one of the largest environmental dredging projects ever undertaken in the United States. The five- to seven-year project will remove approximately 2.4 million cubic yards of sediment from a 40-mile stretch of the river north of Albany, removing approximately 97 percent of the PCBs in the areas that the EPA has chosen for dredging. During the first phase of this project, which began in 2009, more than 500 people worked on the job during that time, 24 hours a day, six days a week. In-river activities temporarily ceased in 2010, as GE, EPA and a panel of independent scientists evaluated the first phase of the project. Refinements have been made to the project to improve productivity and efficiency and dredging resumed in May. All of the contractors who are working on the site must have up to date certification in the handling of hazardous materials, and while Local 773’s has provided some of that training, this grant will allow them to grow and expand their training work.
Specifically, the core environmental training program will include instruction in HAZWOPER, confined space entry, construction site worker safety, UST leak prevention, solid waste management, alternative waste technologies, wastewater treatment facility operation, and lead-based paint renovation, repair, and painting. In addition, supplemental training will be offered in topics including soil and water quality conservation, brownfields cleanup and construction, and brownfields engineering and sampling.
The City of Glens Falls has made a commitment to help those with the greatest need by targeting unemployed and underemployed residents of Warren, Washington, and northern Saratoga Counties in the Hudson River-Adirondack Region. The city has placed a special emphasis on recruiting veterans, minorities, and low and moderate income residents.
Dredging Today Staff, June 22, 2012; Image: hudsondredging