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 612000 cubic yards of river bottom sediment contaminated with PCBs were removed from the upper Hudson River during 2013 exceeding the annual goal of 350000 cubic yards for project.
In 2012 more than 650000 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 GE’s 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.