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EPA and DEC discuss the ending of GE clean up of the Hudson River

EPA and DEC discuss the ending of GE clean up of the Hudson River Photo: AP.

April 07, 2019 08:05 PM

Could General Electric's PCB cleanup efforts on the Upper Hudson River be complete? The EPA says there's no decision yet on GEs  request for a certificate of completion. One New York State official says there is some movement on the issue.

"I'm hoping it's done, I really am. I mean I come through here every summer I ride as much as I can every summer," says Chris McCarty from Albany. 

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"It's a great place to run, always nice to enjoy nature," says Chris Bordonaro at the Corning Preserve Sunday.

For many here in Upstate NY, weekends include running and walking along the Hudson River. According to the Times Union, the DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos says his office has had contact with the EPA over a potential finding if GE's $1.7 billion dollar river cleanup meets a 17 year old agreement between the two. A DEC spokesperson would not comment Sunday to NewsChannel 13.

"I remember when that was sort of just beginning. it's been a big issue for a long time", said Bordonaro.

"I'm hoping its done. I don't think any more money should be put out, i think they should find a way to work around whatever funding has been allotted," says Carlton McCarty of Albany.

The EPA says they haven't decided on "GE's request for certificate of completion of remedial action or the five-year review. We hope to come to some conclusions in the near term."

In the last 15 months, the EPA says it has worked through understanding sediment and fish data with the NY DEC.

"This sort of completion says they've done what they needed to do in terms of clean up of the upper river, the river above the dam at Troy. We don't agree with that," says Richard Webster of the environmental activist group Riverkeeper.

Webster is the legal director of Riverkeeper. He says they would oppose a completion certificate for the dredging, adding it would be premature to issue one.  

"It's pretty clear from the data that they're not meeting the goal set out for the cleanup. the pcb's levels are very high, they're not declining as quickly as one would need to see happen to meet the clean up goals," says Webster.

He says there are hot spots that need to be addressed and monitored. "I think this work could be done fairly expeditiously. It would cost more money but in the end GE caused the problem and they're the ones responsible for cleaning it up."

The EPA tells NewsChannel 13, no matter their future decision, GE is required to continue monitoring and sampling the Upper Hudson for decades to come.

General Electric sent us a statement, saying they've "completed the Hudson River dredging project in 2015, having removed twice the volume of PCBs that EPA envisioned and having met every commitment to EPA" - adding "New York State’s data show dredging is working."

Credits

Jill Konopka

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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