Scenic Hudson Environmental Advocacy Director
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Analysis confirms significant PCB pollution remains in Upper Hudson River
Scenic Hudson applauds Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for undertaking a comprehensive sediment sampling program to evaluate the performance of the Hudson River PCB Superfund cleanup. Released by the DEC today, the report confirms that many areas of the river remain contaminated at levels far beyond what was expected post-dredging.
In certain sections (called reaches) of the Upper Hudson, nearly 80 percent of areas sampled by the DEC have concentrations above the 1 part per million (ppm) threshold typically used by EPA as a goal at PCB Superfund sites. In fact, out of the eight reaches of the Upper Hudson, six have average PCB concentrations exceeding 1 ppm and one reach has average concentrations of nearly 5 ppm. While there is significant variability in the samples collected, some samples contained PCB levels as high as 60 ppm.
In addition, as also highlighted in the report Scenic Hudson recently commissioned by Dr. Remy Hennet of S.S. Papadopulos & Associates, the DEC analysis indicates that areas previously dredged have experienced significant recontamination. Furthermore, DEC also found that sediment data previously used by EPA to assess the effectiveness of the cleanup was “highly skewed” toward low-PCB samples—meaning they underestimate the extent of the PCB contamination left behind.
“This analysis affirms that remaining PCB ‘hotspots’ in the Upper Hudson—several of which are located near population centers—continue to pose a significant health risk to humans and wildlife. It is imperative that the EPA not issue General Electric a Certificate of Completion for the project and set the stage for additional cleanup by finding the remedy is not protective of human health and the environment in its Second Five Year Review,” said Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan. “Also, the EPA should immediately order General Electric to conduct a Remedial Investigation of the Lower Hudson River, which remains as contaminated today as it was before the upriver dredging project.”
The DEC analysis is available at this link.