DEC challenges effectiveness of EPA’s remedy to cleanup Hudson River

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – For years, the EPA has reported that the cleanup of a major contaminant from a main waterway in the Capital area has been on track.

On Monday, the DEC is disputing that claim saying PCBs still remain at a higher level than they should be in the Hudson River.

The DEC commissioner sent this letter to the EPA Sunday night urging them to review how effective the cleanup has been.

For years, dredging of the river has taken place in order to remove a harmful contaminant called PCBs dumped by General Electric up until the mid-70s.

“This is not a thing you want in the environment. This is not a thing that originally existed in the environment, it was added to the environment. We absolutely don’t want it,” Basil Seggos, Commissioner at the DEC said.

That’s what Seggos had to say Monday along the Hudson River concerning the PCBs that contaminate its waters.  He says the cleanup goals of the river set forth in 2002 have not been accomplished.

“If those goals have not been met. Then the EPA must revisit the remedy.”

Seggos was joined by Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney and several environmental advocacy groups to push for continued cleanup of the river.

“We have within our power to clean the river once and for all. As measured by real science and real data,” Maloney (D-NY 18th District) said.

“Since 2012, the EPA has been saying publicly that the cleanup is on track to achieve its goals,” Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan said.

Many saying that claim is based on models and not actual data from the river. In fact, there are still 136 acres of PCB-contaminated sediment in the river. Cleanup may take even longer than expected with potential more dredging.

“We have seen additional data that suggests this cleanup will take as much as half a century more to get us our river back,” Paul Gallay, Riverkeeper, said.

GE released this statement on cleanup:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is conducting the required five-year review of the Hudson River Dredging work completed 10 months ago.

EPA has repeatedly promised a comprehensive and rigorous review of the results. We believe decisions about the river should await a thorough analysis of the most reliable and up to date data.

GE is confident that EPA’s review will demonstrate that the project achieved the agency’s goals of protecting human health and the environment.

GE addressed 100% of the PCBs targeted by EPA, removing twice the volume of PCBs as had been anticipated. Dredging was completed in October 2015. EPA declared the project a success and said no additional dredging is warranted.

The DEC is also asking the EPA to look at real data from all parts of the river, not just designated model sites.

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