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A Tale of Two Phases

2009 June 19
go to EPA's Hudson cleanup site
In 2009 dredging began in the Upper Hudson River to remove sediments with PCBs. Read more.

Phase 1 of the Hudson River dredging project provides a chance to evaluate whether the equipment and methods being used are adequate to meet the project’s cleanup goals. This phase is underway and will continue until the beginning of November. So far, dredging has removed more than 16,000 cubic yards of the river bottom. You can follow the project’s productivity at the following website:

That website also provides information about the various types of monitoring being done to ensure the project is performed in a way that is protective of human health and the environment.

The design elements to be scrutinized during Phase 1 include the equipment selected for dredging sediment and transporting dredged materials to the sediment processing facility, PCB resuspension control and monitoring equipment, the processes and equipment used for dewatering and stabilizing the dredged material and for treating water generated during sediment processing, the rail infrastructure designed for transport of processed dredged materials to the final disposal location in Texas, and the methods and equipment used to backfill dredged areas and, in certain areas, to reconstruct habitat. EPA will be watching all of these project components closely.

At the end of Phase 1 dredging and prior to the start of Phase 2 dredging, EPA and an independent scientific panel will separately evaluate the project to determine whether the dredging design or dredging operations should be modified for the final phase. If all goes according to plan the entire project will be complete by November of 2015.

About the author: Kristen Skopeck is originally from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She is an 11-year Air Force veteran and was stationed in California, Ohio, Texas, Portugal, and New York. After working for the USDA for three years, Kristen joined EPA in 2007 and moved to Glens Falls, NY to be a member of the Hudson River PCB dredging project team. She likes to spend her time reading, writing, watching movies, walking, and meeting new people.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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2 Responses leave one →
  1. June 19, 2009

    It seems like a long way to transport this material, all the way to texas? Why does it have to go there? Guess no one else wants it (nimby issue).?? How much pollution will this generate, in cleaning up the remaining toxins?
    I’m sure the issue has been debated that maybe better off to leave toxins in the river?

  2. Dave King permalink
    June 22, 2009

    The material is being sent to Texas because it was one of a very few permitted sites large enough to take the volume of sediment being dredged from the river. Other sites include ones in Utah, Oregon and Michigan.
    The amount of PCBs that could be mobilized during the dredging has been calculated to limit long term impact to the overall river system. Leaving the contamination in the river means that the system will never recover to the level permitting eating the fish or eliminating impacts to the environment. The idea that clean sediment will cover the contaminants has been shown to be wrong for many areas. Those are the locations where we are dredging to remove the PCBs.

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