The Department of Environmental Conservation is finalizing an extensive water sampling of the Hudson River in an effort to determine the effectiveness of dredging cleanup.
In June, the EPA's Five-Year Review found that its selected PCB (Polychlorinated biphenyls) cleanup remedy wasn't yet "protective" of the public health and environment but it would be in half century. Commissioner Basil Seggos came out strongly against that today at a press conference near the former General Electric plant in Fort Edward, the source of the PCB dumping.
In response to Seggos's remarks today, GE Spokesman Mark Behan issued the following statement to us:
"EPA has called the Hudson River dredging project a “historic success” that will protect human health and the environment. Here’s why: After more than 80 percent of the PCBs in the river were removed, PCB levels in the water of the Upper Hudson declined at every location where they are monitored and by as much as 73 percent in just the first 12 months after dredging. PCB levels in fish are declining as well, just as EPA projected.
New York State approved and oversaw the dredging project and was instrumental in every major decision related to the project. Its criticism flies in the face of the most up-to-date scientific data from the river itself."
The DEC is collecting over 1,600 sediment samples along the river. Seggos said he expects the results would be available this fall. The public comment period on the EPA report ended on September 1st. We'll have more on this story this weekend.