Last week, GE’s Vice President of Environment, Health & Safety Ann R. Klee responded to state legislators who wrote to the company about the Hudson River Dredging Project.
In the letter, she explained the continuing work on the dredging project, reporting about the progress being made and the appropriate next steps.
According to Klee, GE expects to complete the dredging project in the Upper Hudson this year. The crews have worked around the clock for six months of the year for six years to remove more than 2.6 million cubic yards of sediment.
“When the work concludes, we will have addressed 100 percent of the PCBs that EPA targeted when it selected dredging in 2002,” said Klee.
For the project, GE assembled a world-class team of environmental engineers and dredging experts to plan, design and conduct the works – one of the largest and most logistically complex environmental cleanups in U.S. history – with EPA and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation overseeing every aspect of the work.
“The calls for GE to perform significantly more dredging — beyond what EPA required — are not new,” said Klee. “EPA gave careful consideration to requiring an even larger dredging project in 2002 and then again in 2012 when it conducted a five-year review required by the Superfund law.”
“The agency determined that a balanced approach — bank-to-bank dredging in some areas, more targeted dredging in others — achieves the agency’s goals of reducing PCB levels in fish, and meets their mandate of protecting public health and the environment while minimizing the risk of unnecessary harm to the river and natural resources and disruption for local communities,” she added.
Under the agreement with EPA, in addition to performing and paying for all of the dredging and habitat restoration work, GE is required to dismantle the necessary support facilities — the transportation and processing facilities in Fort Edward — once dredging is completed.
“The argument has been made that more dredging now might accelerate the recovery of the river. There is no need to speculate about that. Under our agreement with EPA, for the foreseeable future, GE will collect water, sediment and fish data on the Hudson to evaluate the impact of the cleanup. The data will be used to determine, for example, whether PCB levels in fish have declined as quickly as forecast and to establish the overall rate of recovery,” said Klee.