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EPA and General Electric Reach Agreement on Plan to Sample Hudson River Sediment; Administrative Order on Consent Signed; Negotiations to Proceed on Remainder of Project Design

Release Date: 07/23/2002
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(#02075) New York, New York -- EPA announced today that it has reached an agreement with the General Electric Company (GE) for the company to take samples of river sediment, an initial step in the design of the Hudson River PCBs site cleanup. Approximately 30,000 samples will be collected from the Upper Hudson, and sections of the river will be mapped using side-scan sonar and other approaches. Data from the sampling and mapping program will be used to target and refine the future dredging of PCB-contaminated sediment.

Under the Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) signed by EPA today, GE will start the sampling and mapping in late August or early September. The initial stage of the sampling will run until November, and additional sediment characterization work will be performed in 2003.

GE also agreed to pay $5 million to EPA in partial reimbursement of the Agency's past costs on the Hudson River PCBs site, and to reimburse up to $2.625 million of future costs that will be incurred by EPA in overseeing GE's sampling work. The agreement becomes effective on July 26, 2002.

"GE's commitment to take on this stage of the work while we continue to discuss other aspects of the project is another positive sign that we have entered a new chapter in the Hudson River cleanup." said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. "GE is making a substantial initial investment in the recovery of the Hudson River."

Future discussions with GE will address the company's funding and performance of other aspects of the project design and the cleanup plan selected by EPA in its February 2002 Record of Decision (ROD). EPA's claim for reimbursement of the remainder of its past costs will also be discussed.

EPA will conduct three important aspects of the project design: the development of performance standards; sediment processing/transfer facility siting; and community outreach and involvement. EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and its contractors will oversee GE's work. GE's field sampling activities, reports and sampling results will be reviewed by EPA to ensure that they meet the requirements of the AOC, EPA's ROD for the site, and all applicable laws, agency policies and quality assurance standards.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will also participate in the oversight of the work. The public will be kept fully informed about activities on and around the river and the sampling work will be coordinated with the New York State Canal Corporation to promote public safety by ensuring that boaters are aware of the sampling activities.

GE's work will be performed in accordance with a Sediment Field Sampling Plan, which has been approved by EPA and is appended to the AOC, as well as additional work plans that will be reviewed by EPA. The work plans will address sediment field sampling, supplemental field sampling, the potential presence of archeological sites, sub-bottom profiling, quality assurance, worker health and safety and community health and safety. EPA will solicit public input on the Community Health and Safety Plan.

The AOC and Sediment Field Sampling Plan are available for review at
http://www.epa.gov/hudson and at the Hudson River Field Office in Ft. Edward, New York, and can soon be seen at site information repositories. Other documents will be made available as they are completed.