Hudson river

“A young lady is set adrift in a balloon high above Manhattan:” A real Cliffhanger Atop the Palisades

By Marcia Anderson

Hot Air Balloon

Hot Air Balloon

(Part three of a series on the Palisades)

Slightly old news, but still a lot of fun…  By 1910, the majestic Palisades cliffs had become a center of film production for the nation’s film industry, long before Hollywood was even a dream. During warm months, Fort Lee and the Palisades bustled with activity. Dozens of silent films were shot on location, complete with Wild West shootouts and railroad rescues. The cliffs were frequently used as a location for silent adventure films and were the source of the term “cliffhanger,” most notably coined from the 20 part serial: “The Perils of Pauline.”

‘Once upon a time,’ an adventurer, author and heiress, Miss Pauline Marvin, paid to accompany a balloon pilot on a journey across the Hudson River and to fly over New York City. While Pauline was having her photo taken in the balloon prior to the flight, a nearby horse bolted, causing the balloon crew members to drop the guy ropes and run in panic. Pauline was set adrift for several hours in the balloon, flying over Manhattan, where she landed safely, only to find herself in another predicament. She was the ultimate damsel in distress, as her guardian repeatedly plotted to kill the heiress so he could keep Pauline’s inheritance for himself. Such went the opening chapter of the 1914 serial motion picture “The Perils of Pauline” followed by over 20 chapters of adventure all starring Pearl White, as Pauline.

As time went on, the warm climate of California drew many of the film stars and much of the movie industry away from the Palisades, however, a number of recent Hollywood hits have come back to be filmed in the Palisades. Notably, in 1988, Tom Hanks became Big at a wishing machine in a carnival at Ross Dock in the Palisades. Then in 1990, Martin Scorsese had three GoodFellas –  Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta – bury a body, and then dig it back up in the woods of the Palisades. Later in 1996, Alec Baldwin with Demi Moore, went to Ross Dock in The Juror. He wrestled with, and later blew up a car full of, bad guys in the Palisades. Also in 1996, Mel Gibson appeared in Ron Howard’s film, Ransom, also shot on the Palisades.

How were the Palisades Cliffs formed? The sandstone layers of rock were deposited in the early Triassic Period by the weathering of mountains and erosion of material which was deposited by rivers in the area. Toward the end of the Triassic, about 200 million years ago, the earth’s crust diverged in many places forming rift zones enabling large quantities of molten rock, or magma, to be released from deep within the Earth. Much of this magma did not breach the surface of the Earth. Instead, it flowed horizontally between the layers of sandstone and shale – like meat in the middle of a sandwich. This intrusive river of hot magma is now known as the Palisades Sill.  (A sill is a body of igneous rock that is parallel to the layers of rock they intrude.) The overlying sandstone rocks were uplifted, weathered and eroded by repeated periods of glaciation, exposing the columnar rocks of the Palisades Sill.

Since 1930, when the George Washington Bridge was completed, New Yorkers can walk, bike, drive or take a bus ride from Manhattan to picnic or hike on the Palisades. Numerous trails and historic sites are located within the Palisades and in 1983 the Palisades was designated as a National Natural Landmark. (http://www.njpalisades.org )

About the Author: Marcia is the bed bug and vector management specialist for the Pesticides Program in Edison. She has a BS in Biology from Monmouth, second degree in Environmental Design-Landscape Architecture from Rutgers, Masters in Instruction and Curriculum from Kean, and is a PhD in Environmental Management candidate from Montclair – specializing in Integrated Pest Management and Environmental Communications. Prior to EPA, and concurrently, she has been a professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, Geology and Oceanography at Kean University for 14 years.

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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The Palisades: Building blocks for New York City and the Nation

By Marcia Anderson

(Part two of a three-part series on the Palisades.)

The Palisades

The Palisades

Gazing to the west from Manhattan across the Hudson River we are greeted by the majestic Palisades. These cliffs are a 40 mile long geologic sill from Jersey City to Nyack, NY and, at points, several miles wide. The Palisades are 300 feet high at Weehawken, NJ and 540 feet high near Nyack. This mountain has both a significant role in the course of American history and a dynamic geologic history.

The Palisades were first described by Giovanni da Verrazano in 1541 as ‘looking like fence stakes’ along the river.

Why do the Palisades rock columns look like fence stakes? And how did they form? Natural cooling and contraction of basaltic magma creates the cracks and fissures found in diabase basalt. Basalt is one type of magma that has been extruded onto the surface as lava. Diabase is an intrusive rock formed by an identical magma to basalt; however, it cools at some depth in the Earth’s crust. When water collects in the rocks and freezes, it expands, exerting tremendous pressure on the rock (2000lbs/in2). Yearly cycles of freezing and thawing, weather and weaken the rock, creating enlarged cracks and sometimes late spring landslides.

On a rainy November night, in 1776, the invasion of the Red Coats into New Jersey began. Dozens of boats, covered by British warships, landed on a stone jetty in the Hudson River, just below the Palisades. British regulars, officers and German mercenaries disembarked and climbed the road up the Palisades sill. By 10 a.m., on Nov. 21, 1776, drums sounded and 5,000 men, led by Lt. General Lord Charles, Earl of Cornwallis, began to march south to take Fort Lee, the American rebel stronghold. The Cornwallis assault sent George Washington’s Continental Army into panic and they desperately retreated across NJ, all the way to Delaware. General Washington and his troops re-grouped over the harsh winter to later defeat Cornwallis …and the rest is history.

During the 1800s, millions of cubic yards of Palisades basalt and diabase were extracted at the Englewood Cliffs quarry for railroad ballast and aggregate that helped to build New York City. A sandstone layer was also mined and used to construct many of the famous New York brownstone buildings.

We can thank the NJ State Federation of Women’s Clubs for helping to protect the Palisades from total destruction by mining interests.  Land was donated by the widow of E.H. Harriman (President of Union Pacific Railroad) followed by donations from George Perkins, John D. Rockefeller and J. Pierpont Morgan. This, along with state and federal monies was used to build Henry Hudson Drive and the Palisades Interstate Parkway (1947).

By 1930, the George Washington Bridge was built, enabling New Yorkers to walk, bike, drive, or take a bus ride from Manhattan to the Palisades.  Enjoy a hike on any one of the numerous trails and historic sites located within the Palisades.   The Fort Lee Historic Park Visitor Center, an 18th century soldier hut and campsite, is a great place to start.  (http://www.njpalisades.org )

About the Author: Marcia is the bed bug and vector management specialist for the Pesticides Program in Edison. She has a BS in Biology from Monmouth, second degree in Environmental Design-Landscape Architecture from Rutgers, Masters in Instruction and Curriculum from Kean, and is a PhD in Environmental Management candidate from Montclair – specializing in Integrated Pest Management and Environmental Communications. Prior to EPA, and concurrently, she has been a professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, Geology and Oceanography at Kean University for 14 years.

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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Exploring the Hudson Aboard the Evening Star

<i>The Evening Star offers cruises along the Hudson River from historic Peeskill, New York </i>

By Schenine Mitchell

Louis P. Zicari, Jr., has been a long-standing contributor to the Brownfields Program at EPA Region 2.  He currently serves as Project Manager on an EPA Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training grant awarded to the Research Foundation of SUNY Buffalo.  He is Associate Director of the Center for Integrated Waste Management at SUNY Buffalo and has successfully managed several other brownfield grants in the region.  We can now say we know him on another level.  This EPA Project Manager is also known as Captain Louis P. Zicari (“Captain Lou”), working part-time on a vessel called the Evening Star. The Evening Star is an old Coast Guard vessel built in 1966 that has been converted to touring boat on the Hudson River.  This is the second year that the tour boat has been in operation.

Captain Lou Zicari and EPA’s Vince Pitruzzello cruising the Hudson (pictured from right to left)

Captain Lou is a USCG licensed Merchant Mariner, 50 ton Master. He has spent significant time on the Great Lakes, Finger Lakes and St. Lawrence River on vessels of all sizes.   Captain Lou has long standing interests in the environment, urban history, sport fishing – and enjoys combining his knowledge of those areas while at the helm of the Evening Star.  Thanks to Captain Lou’s knowledge and experience, the river tours serve as a great way to learn about some of the ecology and history of the Hudson River.  Recently, Vince Pitruzzello, the Program Support Branch Chief for the Emergency and Remedial Response Division at EPA Region 2, took part in a tour on the Evening Star.

The Evening Star offers river tours several times each week, Wednesday through Sunday, from Charles Point Marina or Riverfront Green Park.  Metro North has partnered with the Evening Star to provide discounted cruise tickets for those who travel by train. It’s a great way to escape the city, take an evening cruise, and then check out a local restaurant for dinner!  More information on times, locations, and prices can be found online at www.trinitycruises.com or call (914) 589-7773.

About the author: Schenine Mitchell is an Environmental Protection Specialist in the Brownfields Program of the Superfund Program Support Branch. She has a BS in International Environmental Studies from Rutgers University (Cook College), a graduate degree in Environmental Management from Montclair State University, and is a PhD student in Environmental Management at Montclair – specializing in Environmental Justice and Brownfields Redevelopment. She serves as Regional Brownfields Job Training Coordinator and currently Co-Chair of the Region 2 EJ Work Group.

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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The Magnificent “Clearwater” Sloop

By Larry Siegel

Want to go sailing on a sloop? Come aboard ye landlubbers for an afternoon of fun and education for the whole family.

In 1966, a handful of Hudson river-lovers decided to change the course of events that was destroying the Hudson and reclaim a natural treasure for us all. They wanted to dramatize the river’s plight, recall its history, and help guide its future. They wanted to provide their fellow citizens with a first-hand look at the neglect and pollution of the river, and move them to action. So they built a boat. And what a magnificent boat!

By contacting the Clearwater organization you can find out the details regarding charters (for education groups as well as private parties) and public sails (on which individuals and small groups can purchase tickets).

Clearwater offers a number of educational, volunteer, and fun filled programs, but Clearwater’s “Classroom Under Sail” is the centerpiece of the Clearwater education program. This three hour shipboard program is an exploration of the Hudson River and environmental awareness that forges a lifelong connection with nature.

And, if you like folk music, not to be missed is the annual two day Clearwater Music and Environmental Festival that takes place at Croton Point Park in Croton-on-Hudson, NY in Westchester County. If you can make your way up there it is a great event.

About the Author: Larry Siegel has worked as a writer of corporate policies and procedures and as a technical writer. He currently works as a Pesticide Community Outreach Specialist for the Pesticide and Toxic Substances Branch in Edison, NJ

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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Statuesque Symbolism: Liberty Island Mirrors NYC’s Diverse Composition

By Kasia Broussalian

Even though the trip along the Hudson River to Liberty and Ellis Island is known as one of the most “touristy” things you can do while visiting New York City, I love the entire experience—ferry ride included. Eight months ago, I moved from Boulder, Colorado to New York City, and although I have visited Liberty Island three times since the move, it has yet to lose its appeal. Two weekends ago, with my very excited mother in tow, I took another trip out there: neither of us was disappointed, despite the long wait through security near Battery Park. I am always impressed by how many people from different cultures take the same trip. The ferry out is a sort of microcosm for the city in general; so diverse, you can’t help but be exposed to something new each time. My mother was reminded of her first trip to New York City when she emigrated from Poland over 30 years ago.

One of the greatest environmental concerns in the city includes managing the requirements of the city’s enormous population. This concern is greatly impacted by the extraordinary numbers of tourists that flock to the city year round in rain, wind, snow or sun. The two people shown in this photo, just two of hundreds visiting the Statue of Liberty in March 2011, are just an example.

About the author: Kasia Broussalian is a public affairs intern and multimedia journalist in New York City. She has interned with EPA since 2010.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations 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.

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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Phase 1 of Hudson River Dredging Nears Completion

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

The last five months of my life have probably been some of the busiest I’ve ever experienced. Since the project began May 15, I’ve watched more than 240,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment being removed from the Upper Hudson River in the area of Fort Edward, NY, and there was never a dull moment. The actual dredging was kind of hypnotic, but all of the contentious public meetings, media attention, outreach events, and requests for information and tours kept me on my toes.

Now it is early October, and I’m starting to catch my breath again. The dredging is winding down and most of the project vessels will be out of the water by mid-November. We can only dredge from May to November each year because the project’s dewatering facility is located on the Champlain Canal which only operates during those months.

Just to recap how we did, dredging crews worked in 10 of 18 designated areas around Roger’s Island and near Griffen Island in the Upper Hudson. While crews did not dredge in eight areas they originally planned to complete, they removed as much contaminated sediment in the 10 areas they worked in as they expected to remove from all 18 areas. Dredge engineers encountered approximately 100,000 cubic yards of additional, contaminated logging debris attributable to the historical Adirondack logging trade and a timber dam that was removed in the early 1970s. Dredging this additional debris, and finding contamination at levels much deeper than anticipated, kept the crews from working in the other eight areas. These eight areas will be the starting point for dredging in phase two of the project.

During the winter of 2009, a peer review panel of independent dredging experts will convene to look at all of the production and monitoring data generated during Phase 1. This group will make recommendations to EPA and General Electric about changes that can be incorporated for phase two, so the project will be even more efficient and effective. The project review, completion of the final design for phase two, a public comment period, as well as any new construction that might be necessary at the dewatering facility, will take place in 2010. Therefore, the next opportunity to resume dredging will be May of 2011.

I’m looking forward to a slower pace of life this winter and next year, but I know the review process and the subsequent EPA and General Electric coordination will require a lot of public interaction and outreach. Happily, I’ll also look for opportunities to discuss the substantial progress we made during this first phase of this epic journey to clean up the Hudson River.

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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Dredging Project Will Be A Load – And Stress – Reliever

Recently, EPA was asked to defend the fact that dredging stirs up PCBs in the river, which causes more PCBs to go downriver and over the Federal dam in Troy. This is called “loading,” and we monitor it closely. If you live south of Albany, I’m sure you appreciate that we try not to send any more PCBs your way than we have to in order to get this work done.

The river bottom doesn’t keep the PCBs locked safely inside a mud sandwich. This river scours, floods and changes its course. So loading of PCB’s was always a problem. .It’s impossible to know for sure, but engineers estimate about 500 pounds of PCBs a year were loaded in the past. Now, because of dredging, we actually know the PCB levels in the river, and we know there’s much more contamination than we estimated, so the loading was probably more too. However, by dredging we’re finally doing something to lower the PCB levels, forever. I get a lot of satisfaction watching each loaded barge, because I know that contaminated sediment is no longer contributing to the problem.

Dredging opponents point out that the monitoring station nearest the dredging, and another about 18 miles away, have exceeded the PCB loading amount targeted for this year and so the project should stop. We explained the load target represents an overall requirement for the project and not for a single year. The higher loads during this dredge season will be addressed through lessons learned and improvements recommended for future dredging.

I’m a newcomer to Fort Edward and the dredging debate. Having never lived near a river before, I didn’t understand how important a river can be in people’s lives. Since moving here, I’ve spent hours and hours talking to people who are personally and, in some cases emotionally affected by the project. I‘m very sympathetic — they didn’t create the horrendous pollution problem, but they’ve been forced to deal with it for years, and it’s taken a stressful toll. I’ve spent countless hours on the river thinking about the far-reaching consequences of the PCB contamination. After five months of dredging, I’ve learned firsthand how persistent, shallow, mobile and voluminous the PCBs are in the Upper Hudson. But, as of September 5, there are about 190,000 cubic yards less of contaminated sediment contributing to the stress and loading problems, and I’m proud to be part of the monumental effort that made that happen. As intrusive and irritating as the project is for some people, it’s very important for the safety and sanity of future generations.

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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Remnant of Historical Fort “Discovered” By Dredging

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

On August 14, a dredge operator working along the southeastern side of Roger’s Island, near the site of a colonial-era fort (built in the 1750s) that is the namesake of the Town of Fort Edward, unfortunately dislodged two timbers associated with the ancient fort’s purpose as a supply depot. Sadly, next to nothing is left of this important historical structure within the archaeological site that contains its artifacts, so the incident greatly alarmed local residents, historians, and archeologists.

Prior to the project’s start, archeologists extensively studied the river bank in the entire 40-mile project area, and they did a river bottom survey. However, because of the PCB contamination, they were not allowed to disrupt the river bottom. In their investigation of the six-mile dredge area (where the project is taking place this year), the archaeologists found and documented more than 10 underwater vessels, the timber thought to be part of the fort, and several other artifacts.

image of Because the timber was thought to be the only remaining remnant of the fort extending into the river, dredge operators were instructed to avoid it, as well as a section of the river where the timber rested. However, unbeknownst to everyone, another timber was buried in the sediment underneath the exposed timber, and this timber extended past the exclusion zone and into the area approved for dredging by EPA. This second timber was 21 feet long. When the dredge operator came in contact with the buried timber and pulled it upward, it caused the other (exposed) timber to come free from the riverbank.

image of decaying logA flurry of archeological activity has been focused on the timbers and riverbank. Although experts need to determine the extent of contamination of the timbers, this incident now provides an excellent opportunity to carry out a detailed archaeological investigation of both the land area of the fort site, as well as the in-river areas adjacent to the site. The work will focus on defining the context and function of the timbers in question, as well as adding to the understanding of the activities carried out at the fort by controlled excavation and subsequent analysis of recovered artifacts. Of particular interest to the officials in the Town of Fort Edward is the opportunity for the public to observe the excavations.

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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Dredging Challenges Contribute to Spikes in Air and Water Monitoring

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

Last week, media who routinely cover the Hudson dredging project ran several stories about increased PCB levels recorded by EPA for both water and air monitoring. Be assured, water and air quality are being closely monitored, and EPA is working with the New York State Department of Health to ensure there are no immediate risks to people’s health. People can track the monitoring at www.hudsondredgingdata.com. I thought I would take this edition of the blog to clarify what happened on the river last week and tell you what was done about it.

Since the beginning of the project, dredging has taken place around Roger’s Island, one of the most heavily contaminated areas of the river and one of the most complex areas to dredge, due to physical conditions such as shallow water depths and a river bottom of uneven bedrock. We’ve found sediment in this area contains very high levels of PCBs mixed with a tremendous amount of small debris (i.e. tree limbs, etc.). In addition, since May 15, more and more dredges have been added throughout the six-mile project location, and we are nearly operating at full capacity (12 dredges, 18 barges and 18 tugboats).

Last week, when GE staged several dredges in a particularly contaminated area, the monitoring numbers began to elevate. Levels of PCBs in the water were measured as high as 514 parts per trillion at the first monitoring station (located near Thompson Island) on Saturday, August 2, which is above the drinking water standard of 500 ppt. At the same time, the river had started to rise and the flows were starting to exceed the safety level of 10,000 cubic feet per second, so the dredging was halted.

If PCB levels reach the drinking water standard, and are confirmed by two subsequent lab samples, any dredging activities that may have caused the exceedance will be halted until EPA is satisfied that the proper changes have been put into place to lower the levels. The two follow-up water samples came back below the drinking water standard, so EPA determined there had been a spike in the PCB levels, and it was probably because of the combination of dredging and high river flows from recent rain events. After that determination, EPA told GE it was okay to dredge again, once the river flows decreased to less than 10,000 cubic feet per second. As of Monday evening, August 3, the dredging had resumed. Additional water samples have been taken at Thompson Island and are all below the drinking water standard, and samples taken further downriver are well below the standard. Those results can be found at www.hudsondredgingdata.com .

The air standards are equally protective. The standard for exposure for PCBs in the air in residential areas, for instance, is based on levels that would be acceptable for a child under the age of six to breathe 24 hours a day for 365 days a year for six years. If that standard is exceeded, EPA and New York State investigate, and GE is directed to take actions to decrease the levels and provide sampling results faster to help identify the cause of the spikes.

So what actions were taken – we determined the combination of too many dredges in a heavily contaminated area and the release of vapors from barges loaded with contaminated sediment drying out in the sun were key contributors to the monitoring spikes. As a corrective measure EPA has now required that dredging be scaled back in the highly contaminated area around Roger’s Island and that the barges with high concentrations of PCBs are loaded evenly, that they are kept wet to prevent PCBs from evaporating into the air, and that they are immediately off-loaded into an enclosed storage structure at the dewatering facility. These measures have worked to dramatically reduced levels of PCBs in the air and the water.
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.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

What Is Happening With The Sediment Being Dredged From The Hudson River?

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

I was viewing the dredging from the Fort Edward yacht basin with many curious onlookers recently, and people wanted to know what would become of the PCB-laden dirt and debris.

I told them the barge in front of us was nearly filled to capacity and would soon be moved by tugboat to a processing facility. A 110-acre facility specially constructed on the Champlain Canal between Locks 7 and 8 in Fort Edward is the sole processing facility for the project’s dredged material. There, the sediment and debris is sorted to remove remaining sand, sticks, silt and rocks (anything larger than 5/8 of an inch in diameter is separated from smaller material). Water is added to the remaining PCB-laden dirt to create slurry and to help move the material through pipes to 12 specially manufactured filter presses housed inside a sediment dewatering building. The presses squeeze the slurry to remove the water, and the water goes to a water-treatment plant to be cleaned to drinking-water standards before being returned to the Champlain Canal. The material remaining is called “filter cake.” The cake is then placed inside impervious liners inside railcars that make up 81-car trains. These trains leave the area every few days on their way to a licensed disposal facility in Andrews, Texas.

Right now, as the flow of the river allows, dredging operations are taking place 24 hours a day, six days a week, (Sundays are reserved for contingencies and maintenance) and sediment and water treatment are taking place around the clock, seven days a week. The project has 450 dedicated railcars continuously looped between here and the disposal facility. More information about this project can be found at the following websites: www.epa.gov/hudson/ and www.hudsondredging.com/.

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.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.