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Hudson River Cleanup Hits Midpoint

by Glenn Hess
November 26, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 48

Credit: EPA
Workers dredge the Hudson River.
Photo shows workers using excavators with environmental clamshell buckets mounted on flat, anchored platforms to dredge the Hudson River, in New York.
Credit: EPA
Workers dredge the Hudson River.

A massive cleanup project that aims to remove polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from a contaminated stretch of the upper Hudson River in New York is about 50% complete, according to EPA. Over a 30-year period ending in the late 1970s, General Electric dumped an estimated 1.3 million lb of PCBs into the river from two capacitor manufacturing plants in Fort Edward and Hudson Falls, N.Y. Working under EPA oversight, GE expects to spend more than $1 billion to remove 2.6 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment from a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson. Project officials say dredging will last another three to five years, which is in line with the time frame EPA estimated when the project began in 2009. “With the third season of dredging nearly complete, EPA is approximately halfway toward its goal of a cleaner Hudson River,” EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck says. According to the agency, PCBs are likely carcinogens and can cause neurological damage, especially in children. The primary way people are exposed to PCBs is through eating contaminated fish.


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