Enhancing Housatonic River cleanup

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued proposed modifications to the 2016 cleanup plan for the “Rest of River” portion of the Housatonic River, which will result in faster and more comprehensive cleanup activity in the river and floodplain which will secure long-term, public health protections for Berkshire County residents.

“EPA is making good on our long-term commitment to addressing PCB contamination in the Housatonic River. Our overriding goal has always been protecting people’s health and the environment, and we are advancing that goal with the proposed modifications to the cleanup plan,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel.

“The proposed changes to the cleanup will mean a more comprehensive and faster cleanup effort for the river and floodplain, with less disruption for local residents. EPA looks forward to the time when the Housatonic River and its floodplain are restored and people can safely enjoy their scenic and recreational aspects, whether they are visiting or living nearby.”

EPA will accept public comments for 45 days, beginning on July 14, 2020. The comment period is on the changes to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Permit Modification, which EPA issued in 2016 (“the 2016 Permit”).

On August 26, EPA will also hold a public hearing on the changes contained in the proposed modifications to the cleanup plan to address the impacts of PCBs released into the Housatonic River from the GE-Pittsfield/Housatonic River site.

EPA’s proposed revised cleanup plan will achieve superior public health protections. The plan includes two primary sets of changes.

First, regarding disposal of excavated materials, the Draft Revised 2020 Permit calls for a two-pronged solution. 

Second, the Draft Revised 2020 Permit significantly improves the overall performance of the cleanup.

Photo: EPA