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Construction to Begin On Hudson River Treatment Plant

On February 8, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that while construction of the multi-million dollar processing and treatment facility for contaminated sediment from the Hudson River would begin this spring, the dredging itself would be delayed until the spring of 2009.

The processing facility will remove water from the dredged material before it is transported out of state. The EPA expects the construction of the facility to take between 18 and 24 months.

Regarding the dredging, an EPA news release stated “Due to several obstacles beyond EPA’s control, including legal actions and the seasonal nature of dredging, it has become necessary to extend the start date for dredging until the spring of 2009. The adjustment to the schedule is, at least in large part, the result of the delay caused by the legal challenge to the Consent Decree.”

“Now that the Consent Decree has been approved, we can move forward on this vast and complex project,” said Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “It’s time to put the shovels in the ground and begin the construction work needed to clean up and restore this river one of the country’s most important cultural, ecological and economic resources.”

The 110-acre processing and treatment facility will contain a 1500-foot wharf area, over five miles of rail lines, 12 filter presses to squeeze the water out of the PCB-contaminated sediment, and an on-site facility that will treat the remaining water. It will employ more than 100 workers, many of whom are expected to be hired from the local area. GE recently awarded a contract to a local company to prepare the infrastructure for the facility.

Beginning in 2009, dredging of the Hudson River will be conducted in two phases. In the initial one-year phase, about 10 percent of the anticipated total volume of PCB-contaminated sediment will be dredged from the river. The remaining phase of the dredging is expected to take five years. The dredging will help restore the Hudson River using approaches designed to minimize impacts on local communities throughout the life of the project.

On March 29, the EPA issued an order to the New York State Canal Corporation requiring it to grant EPA and General Electric (GE) access to three parcels of land where construction needs to take place. The properties, in the towns of Moreau and Fort Edward, New York, are owned by the Canal Corporation. This action, carried out pursuant to the federal laws governing the Superfund program, became necessary after prolonged negotiations between GE and New York State over the terms of access to the properties led to an impasse. In order for construction to begin on time this spring, EPA concluded that it was necessary to issue an access order to prevent any delay in the cleanup project.

EPA’s order requires the Canal Corporation to give EPA and GE access to three locations: 25 acres of property in Fort Edward needed for the sediment processing/transfer facility; an approximately two-mile strip of land along the Champlain Canal on which GE will construct a road that will connect the processing facility with existing Route 196; and property located on the west bank of the Hudson River in the Town of Moreau, where GE will build a marina that will support the dredging operation.

General Electric has chosen the first two companies that will lead the dredging in Fort Edward are D.A. Collins Construction Company in Mechanicville, New York, and the Railworks Track Services, New York City.

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