EPA Expands Scope of Hudson River Cleanup Analysis; State Sediment Samples, Advances Work in Floodplain
NEW YORK – Region 2 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it will evaluate, in close coordination with the State of New York, approximately 1,800 sediment samples taken in 2017 by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) from the Upper Hudson River. EPA also will continue efforts to complete the study of the Upper Hudson River and conduct supplemental studies of the Lower Hudson River.
“While EPA, its partners, and the public continue to give serious attention to post-dredging recovery of the Upper Hudson, it’s imperative that we also expand the scope of the Agency’s efforts to ensure the Hudson River is fully remediated,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez.
On January 11, 2018, EPA Regional Administrator Lopez reached out to NYSDEC Commissioner Basil Seggos asking for the final data from NYSDEC’s sampling effort and offering federal resources to help analyze that data, which NYSDEC has now provided to EPA. The EPA has begun its analysis, will have its scientists closely analyze data from NYSDEC’s 2017 sediment samples, and expects to collaborate with the state in order to make joint findings and conclusions about the data.
EPA is also advancing a study of the floodplain in the Upper Hudson River where work on the floodplain first began in October, 2014 when General Electric (GE) agreed to conduct a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (comprehensive study) of PCB contamination. Under this agreement, this study is investigating the PCB contamination in the 43-mile stretch of the Hudson River floodplain from Hudson Falls to Troy, New York. This study includes an evaluation of human and ecological risks, as well as potential long-term clean up solutions.
To date, this study has collected approximately 8,000 soil samples on more than 500 properties in the floodplain. Soil and stone covers have also been installed prevent exposure to PCBs and/or installed warning signs on several properties. These measures are temporary, pending completion of the comprehensive study and the selection of a final cleanup plan for the floodplain. EPA will decide on the final cleanup plan with input from the public.
In addition to these efforts, EPA Region 2 is positioning itself to further engage in assessing the Lower Hudson River stretching from Albany to New York City. The initial assessment – from the 1990’s – indicated that PCBs from the GE plant sites had migrated downstream and into the Lower Hudson River. Since then, EPA and NYSDEC have continued collection and evaluation of water and fish data throughout the Lower Hudson River. These data are shared between the agencies and evaluated collaboratively. Given that fish recoveries in a portion of the Lower Hudson River may be slower than expected, EPA will begin conducting supplemental studies to include collection of additional sediment samples and other information necessary to better understand PCB contamination in the Lower Hudson River (including additional sources of PCBs).
With respect to work that has already been performed, EPA Region 2 is reviewing input from NYSDEC, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of the Interior, and New York State Attorney General’s office regarding the certification of completion of the remedial action, which includes dredging and habitat reconstruction, under the 2006 Consent Decree with GE.
Under the direction of Administrator Scott Pruitt, EPA has reemphasized the importance of the Superfund program as central to the Agency’s mission. The Agency will continue to aggressively pursue Hudson remediation efforts in coordination with its Region 2 office, while engaging with partners and stakeholders.
For more information about the EPA’s work on the Hudson River, visit www.epa.gov/hudson.