Hudson River PCB cleanup to start

Jan 26, 2007

Workers must build a Superfund site support complex near Fort Edward, N.Y., before beginning one of the world's biggest environmental cleanup projects.

Before PCBs dumped by two General Electric in the Hudson River for decades ago be dredged from the mud, workers this spring will have to build the infrastructure that can support the Superfund site -- a treatment plant, rail lines, marina, utility lines and more, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday. It's "like constructing a small city," John Haggard, GE program manager, told the newspaper.

The entire cleanup is expected to cost more than $700 million, the Times reported. GE has agreed to clean up 10 percent of the site, and if a panel approves the results, the company probably will volunteer to do the rest or face a federal order order to do so, the newspaper said.

The Hudson River is one of 154 Superfund "mega sites" that will cost more than $50 million each to clean up, the Times said. But the huge price tags are no guarantee of success.

Federal environmental officials said the toxic sites are such a threat that the challenge of cleaning them up is worth it.

"Usually, they are a blight on communities. In our case, the stigma of the contamination is hurting the economy of the upper Hudson," David King, the EPA's Hudson River project manager, told the Times.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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