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EPA Finalizes Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessments for GE Pittsfield / Housatonic River Site

Release Date: 06/14/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: Sheryl Rosner, EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1865,

For Immediate Release: June 14, 2005; Release # sr050611

Boston - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized both the Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessments and completed a major milestone in the process at the GE-Pittsfield / Housatonic River Site.

The area evaluated in the assessments, known as the “Rest of River,” generally refers to the Housatonic River, including sediment and floodplain from the confluence of the East and West Branches in Pittsfield, downstream into Connecticut. The assessments are two in a series of reports being prepared by EPA as part of the Consent Decree entered into five years ago by General Electric, EPA and other government agencies.

In accordance with the Consent Decree, finalizing the Risk Assessments triggers the requirement for GE to prepare a proposal for the Interim Media Protection Goals, or IMPGs, for the Rest of River. The proposed IMPGs, which are due in September, are subject to review and approval by EPA before becoming final. Ultimately, the IMPGs will serve as the target cleanup levels for the Rest of River study area, to be considered with other factors in the review of remedial alternatives during the Corrective Measures Study.

Before finalizing both Risk Assessments, draft Assessments were reviewed by an independent Peer Review Panel. The Panel reviewed the draft assessments and comments provided to them by General Electric and other members of the public. The Risk Assessments were then revised in response to the Peer Review Panel comments, and the newly incorporated information was released by EPA for public comment a second time. The Responsiveness Summaries address this latest series of public comments.

“This process has resulted in Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessments that have been widely vetted and closely scrutinized, and EPA believes that it demonstrates the use of rigorous, sound science in documenting the risks to people and animals that are exposed to PCBs and other contaminants from the Housatonic River,” said Susan Svirsky, EPA’s Project Manager for the Rest of River.

The final Risk Assessments and associated documents can be reviewed at the following locations:

    • Berkshire Athenaeum Public Library Reference Depart., 1 Wendell Ave., Pittsfield MA
    • Simons Rock College of Bard Library, 84 Alford Rd., Great Barrington 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
In addition, the Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessments are available on EPA’s website under “Rest of River Documents.”