EPA releases its third review of Hudson River PCBs cleanup

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its third review of the cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the Upper Hudson River. 

photo courtesy of EPA

The EPA’s review concludes that PCB levels in water and fish are going down overall, but the EPA needs more years of fish data to determine if the cleanup is meeting the expectations of the original cleanup plan.

Also, the EPA will issue an addendum to the current five-year review report as soon as sufficient fish data is available, as early as next year. The EPA said that they expect to issue the addendum no later than the end of 2027.

The EPA continues to work on multiple fronts to address the contamination throughout the Upper and Lower Hudson River and will ensure General Electric Company (GE) remains accountable for the PCBs that came from their manufacturing plants in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward, New York,” said EPA Regional Administrator, Lisa F. Garcia. “Today we are announcing a 90-day public comment period on the latest five-year review and appreciate the intense public interest and continued input as we work to clean up the Hudson River.”

The EPA added that they need more years of data to fully evaluate the PCB levels in the river bottom sediment. The next sediment sampling is in 2026.

The EPA collects and reviews monitoring data every year to evaluate how the river is recovering since dredging ended in 2015. 

Because the latest report identifies several uneven patterns of recovery in fish, the EPA is looking more closely at water, fish and sediment in specific areas of the river. The five-year review includes these special studies as a series of recommendations and follow-up items in the report,” they said.

The EPA is also actively working in all parts of the river to study and address PCBs.

In the Upper Hudson River, an extensive floodplain study is underway to evaluate PCB contamination in soil in shoreline areas along a 43-mile stretch of river between Hudson Falls and Troy, NY.