General Electric Company
For Immediate Release: December 20, 2000
ALBANY, N.Y. - EPA's plan for massive dredging in the Upper Hudson River destroys 97 acres of prime aquatic habitat and damages 17 miles of shoreline but provides only marginal reductions in PCB levels in fish beyond what would be achieved through GE's clean-up program and natural recovery, a preliminary analysis by GE and a panel of experts shows.
EPA said its proposed project, which is larger than all previous environmental dredging projects combined, could be completed in five years. But GE's analysis shows the plan is based on EPA's assumption that it could achieve overall removal rates two to four times greater than what has been achieved at other environmental dredging projects.
EPA claimed that dredging would shorten by a generation the time when fish could be safely consumed from the Upper Hudson. But EPA's plan shows dredging never achieves two of three PCB-reduction goals in fish in the Thompson island Pool, where EPA proposed the most aggressive dredging. It also shows that in most of the Upper Hudson the difference between the results of GE's clean-up program and dredging are less than half a part per million.
GE's analysis reached the following conclusions:
EPA claimed dredging was necessary because the decline in PCB levels in fish has tapered off, but in fact long-term fish trend data show clearly that PCB levels in fish and sediment continue to decline. PCB levels in fish have declined 90 percent since 1977, declined at the rate of 9 percent per year in the 1990s, and are projected to decline 70 percent in the next 10 years as a result of GE's source-control program and natural recovery.
The ongoing recovery is driven by GE's major clean-up projects at Hudson Falls, which have reduced to less than three ounces per day the quantity of PCBs entering the river. EPA acknowledges in its study that the long-term reduction of PCB levels in fish in the Upper Hudson depends upon the success of the GE's clean-up plan ("source control") and natural recovery.
GE is developing the final phase of the Hudson Falls remedy, a tunnel beneath the riverbed to collect the small amount of PCBs that escape the on-shore underground collection system. The plan involves building a 1,500-foot long shaft running 60 feet beneath the river near Baker's Falls (Hudson Falls). GE has discussed the approach with EPA and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and plans to submit a formal plan early in 2001.
Contact: Mark L. Behan 518-792-3856
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