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EPA Extends Public Comment Period on information in 'Model Validation' Report for Housatonic River

Release Date: 03/22/2006
Contact Information: Sheryl Rosner (617) 918-1865

(Boston, Mass. - Mar. 22, 2006) - Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a 15-day extension to the public comment period on the “Model Validation Report for the GE Pittsfield / Housatonic River Site, Rest of River” and released an addendum to the report. EPA will now accept public comments through Apr. 21. The public comment period opened on Mar. 8.

Interested members of the public are invited to present comments to an independent scientific peer review panel. The independent panel will be evaluating the Model Validation Report at a public meeting scheduled for June 28 and 29.

The Model Validation Report is the final in a series of five reports released since 2001 for public comment and review by independent scientific peer review panels. These include the Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessments as well as the Modeling Framework and Modeling Calibration Reports. The peer reviewed documents collectively present EPA’s findings regarding the risks that existing contamination presents to residents and ecological receptors, and also present a modeling framework that can be used to evaluate potential remedial alternatives.

The model is designed to reproduce conditions in the Housatonic River between the confluence of the east and west branches in Pittsfield and Rising Pond Dam in Great Barrington. In doing so, the model can be used to project into the future what the results of potential clean up options would be and is one tool which will be used by GE and EPA to evaluate potential cleanup alternatives for the Rest of River. Once EPA completes the Model Validation Report Peer Review process, GE is required under the Consent Decree to submit a proposal outlining clean up alternatives for more in-depth review; the Corrective Measures Study will then be performed which evaluates these cleanup alternatives against a number of criteria specified in the Reissued RCRA Permit.

The brief addendum to the report includes a box diagram summarizing the fluxes of solids and PCBs calculated by the model in the Housatonic River, and also includes the output from the model simulations for the downstream reaches from Lenox to Great Barrington.

The public is invited to review and comment on the Modeling Validation Report and to submit their comments in the context of the Charge questions to the Peer Review Panel to be considered in their review of the report. In addition, members of the public will have an opportunity to orally address the Panel directly on questions laid out in the Charge before the Panel begins its deliberations. Public comments must be related to the questions posed in the Charge for the Model Validation.

The full text of the Charge for the Model Validation, the Model Validation Report, including the addendum, EPA’s Peer Review Handbook and Appendix J to the Consent Decree, as well as other related documents including a list of the panel members are available on EPA’s website, www.epa.gov/ne/ge under “Rest of River Reports” or by clicking on the red button “Current Public Comment Periods.”

Copies of the Model Validation Report, including the addendum, and the full text of the Charge for the model validation, as well as other information on the site are available for review at the following locations:

Berkshire Athenaeum Public Library Reference Depart., 1 Wendell Ave., Pittsfield MA
Cornwall Public Library, Pine St., Cornwall CT
Kent Memorial Library (Kent Library Association), 32 North Main St., Kent CT
Housatonic Valley Association, Cornwall Bridge CT
EPA Records Center, One Congress St., Suite 1100, Boston MA
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, 436 Dwight St., Suite 500, Springfield MA
Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, 79 Elm St., Hartford CT

Comments should be faxed, emailed or mailed by April 21, 2006 to:

Beth Nerrie
SRA International
2801 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 100
Arlington VA 22201

Fax: 703-516-9108
Email: gepittsfield@sra.com

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