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EPA Completes Fourth Season of Hudson River Dredging

A Cashman five-cubic-yard clamshell dredge working on the hudson River project during the
2013 season.

A Cashman five-cubic-yard clamshell dredge working on the hudson River project during the 2013 season.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency completed dredging for this season on the Hudson River in November, with the project nearly three-quarters done. More than 612,000 cubic yards  of  river bottom sediment contaminated with PCBs were removed from the upper Hudson River during 2013, exceeding the annual goal of 350,000 cubic yards for project.

In  2012,  more  than  650,000  cubic  yards were removed.

The Superfund cleanup required by the EPA calls for the dredging of approximately 2.65 million cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment from a 40-mile stretch of the upper Hudson River between Fort Edward and Troy, New York. The project began in 2009 and is about 73 percent complete, putting the dredging on track to be finished in two years. To date, about 1.9 million of the 2.65 million cubic yards million have been removed. Filling the previously dredged areas with clean sand and gravel will continue  over the through November, weather permitting.

During  dredging  operations,  an  extensive water monitoring program measures water quality and the amount of dredged sediment that is being  resuspended and transported downriver. The 500 parts per trillion federal standard under the Safe Drinking Water Act was not exceeded, as measured  at  Waterford, New York, the farthest downstream monitoring location in the upper Hudson River. The EPA also set a limit on the amount of capping that can occur to isolate remaining PCBs. The requirement that capping not exceed 11 percent of the total project area continued to be met in 2013. About 6 percent of the area was capped, not including those areas where capping was unavoidable. All of the dredged material remaining at GEs dewatering and processing facility in Fort Edward will be shipped by train to permitted out-of-state disposal facilities by the end of the year.

Over the next several months, the EPA will be reviewing and approving technical plans for the 2014 dredging season, which will start next spring when the Champlain Canal opens for the season. In 2014, dredging will occur in several areas of the river that are logistically challenging, including those near dams, shallow areas in bays  and  near islands and the landlocked section of the river located between the Thompson Island Dam and Fort Miller Dam. Added travel time will also be required to transport dredged sediment by barge from the southernmost dredging locations to the sediment dewatering and processing  facility  located on the Champlain Canal in Fort Edward.

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