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EPA and General Electric Reach Agreement on Design of Hudson River Cleanup

Release Date: 08/14/2003
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(#03097) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it has signed an agreement with General Electric Company (GE) to perform the project design work for the cleanup of PCB-contaminated sediment in the Hudson River. Under the agreement, embodied in an Free PDF reader availableAdministrative Order on Consent (AOC), GE will develop detailed approaches to removing sediment from the river bottom, transporting and disposing of the material, and replacing the habitat in dredged areas. The company will also pay up to $28 million in partial reimbursement of EPA’s past and future costs associated with the dredging project. The AOC was signed by EPA on August 13 and becomes effective on August 18, 2003.

“EPA will work with GE to ensure that this complex project is performed in a safe and efficient manner,” said EPA Regional Administrator, Jane M. Kenny. “EPA stands by its commitment to invite and consider public input on major issues throughout the project.”

The AOC covers the detailed design of the dredging project. It does not cover the performance of the actual dredging work itself. The AOC includes work plans for the design of the dredging work, baseline monitoring, cultural and archeological resources assessment, and habitat delineation and assessment. The agreement also includes a revised Community Health and Safety Plan to help ensure that the project design work is performed in a manner that is safe for local communities.

Before finalizing the AOC, EPA released draft versions of the work plans to the public, and accepted public comments on them from May 28 until July 2. EPA also released the draft AOC to the public for informational purposes. The final work plans include changes made in response to public comments.

Under the agreement, GE is responsible for designing a dredging project that will be conducted over a six-year period, in two phases, consistent with EPA’s February 2002 Record of Decision (ROD) for the project and the engineering performance standards developed by EPA to ensure that the dredging is done safely and effectively. The company will perform key activities needed to complete the design of the project, including:

    • evaluating sediment sampling data resulting from the collection and analysis of approximately 30,000 sediment samples from the Upper Hudson. This sampling work, which began in the fall of 2002, is being performed under a separate AOC signed in July 2002;
    • developing engineering and design specifications to support EPA’s selection of sites for sediment processing/transfer facilities, and designing these facilities;
    • determining locations for the disposal of the dredged and dewatered sediments;
    • developing engineering and other information needed to select which areas of sediment will be removed during phase 1 and phase 2 of the dredging project;
    • developing all remedial design documents; and
    • designing an effective monitoring program that meets the objectives of the engineering performance standards developed by EPA.
EPA will retain lead responsibility for three aspects of the design project: the siting of sediment processing/transfer facilities, the development and peer review of engineering performance standards, and community outreach and involvement.

The design work is expected to take three years to complete and will be performed and paid for by GE with oversight by EPA and New York State. The design work will be phased so that dredging can begin in spring 2006.

Under the agreement, GE will pay EPA $15 million in partial reimbursement of the Agency's past costs for the site. In addition, the company will reimburse the Agency up to $13 million in costs associated with EPA’s performance of work for which it has lead responsibility, as well as costs that will be incurred in the oversight of GE’s design work. GE also paid the Agency $5 million for past costs last summer, under the July 2002 Sediment Sampling AOC. Those funds, plus the $15 million for past costs included in the agreement announced today, bring the company’s total reimbursement for past costs to $20 million – a down payment toward the more than $40 million incurred by the Agency on the site to date. Additional negotiations with GE will begin shortly to address the company’s performance of the actual dredging work and the reimbursement of the remainder of EPA’s past and future costs.

The AOC and associated work plans are available on EPA’s Hudson River Web site at Copies are also available by calling the Hudson River Field Office.