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Case: Hudson River, NY

Catch and Release Fishing Only Sign Catch and Release Fishing Only Sign
Site history:

PCB discharges began at General Electric's manufacturing plants at Fort Edward and Hudson Falls, New York in 1947 and 1952, respectively.


Hudson River, New York.


Case status:

Conducting injury assessment studies and soliciting potential restoration project ideas from the public. View injury determination studies.


Photo of General Electric plant on the Hudson River Photo of General Electric plant on the Hudson River
For approximately 30 years, beginning in 1947 at Fort Edward and in 1952 at Hudson Falls, New York, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were discharged into the upper Hudson River by manufacturing plants operated by General Electric Company (GE). The discharges resulted from the washing of PCB-containing capacitors and accidental spills that occurred during manufacturing. Until 1973, the majority of PCB contamination was trapped in sediment behind a dam at Fort Edward. When the Fort Edward dam was removed that year, an estimated 1.3 million cubic yards of PCB-laden sediment was released downstream. PCB contamination now exists in all 200 miles of river, including the Battery in New York Harbor. In addition, previously unidentified subterranean sources of PCB contamination were discovered throughout the early 1990s.  It is likely that NOAA trust resources have been and will continue to be injured following remedy implementation.

The Hudson River PCB site was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) in 1981 and a natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) was initiated for the site in 1997. In 2002, EPA selected dredging of approximately 2.65 million cubic yards (cy) of PCB-contaminated sediment from the Upper Hudson River as the primary way to clean up the river. Several years of remedial design ensued. The Phase 1 remedy was implemented in River Section 1 in 2009. At the end of the season, 10 Certification Units (CUs) were remediated; 48.3 acres dredged (~283,000 cy sediment), approximately 17.3 acres capped (~36%) and approximately 31 acres backfilled. In 2010, a peer review panel evaluated whether the Engineering Performance Standards (EPS) should be modified during Phase 2 based on the results of Phase 1 remediation. Their recommendations were issued in a September 2010 report. Phase 2 Year 1 commenced in 2011. An additional 75 acres (~363,000 cy) was dredged from 15 CUs of River Section 1 and about 6% of the remediated area was capped. During 2012 (Phase 2 Year 2), more than 663,000 cy of sediment were dredged from River Section 1 and about 10% of the area was capped. In the first three years of dredging, more than 1.2 million cy of sediment have been removed from the river. Dredging will recommence in River Section 1 in the spring of 2013.

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