GE Crews Begin Fourth Season of Dredging
GE’s crews have resumed dredging and backfilling activities in the Upper Hudson River. This season marks the fourth year sediments will be removed from the river, processed and transported out of New York State for permanent disposal.
This year begins with the project approximately 50 percent completed. After the first three seasons of dredging (in 2009, 2011 and 2012), more than 1.3 million cubic yards of sediment has been removed.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selected dredging in the Upper Hudson River (north of Albany, NY) to remove PCBs in 2002. All of GE’s work is overseen and approved by EPA. Based on EPA’s timetable, dredging will likely continue for three to five more years.
The size and scope of the project make it one of the largest and most logistically complex environmental dredging projects ever conducted in the United States. Dredging occurs 24 hours a day, six days a week, for six months of the year. The men and women who perform this work face major engineering and logistical obstacles every single dredging day. Natural conditions are challenging, and there is significant recreational and commercial boat traffic, with as many as 80 dredging-related vessels at work. GE’s top priority is to conduct the project as safely and effectively as possible while meeting EPA’s goals and timetable.
Cashman Dredging & Marine Contracting Co., LLC, a leading national dredging contractor that performed the first three seasons of dredging, was selected by GE to continue dredging activities this year. Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc., of Latham, NY, a CB&I company, will again operate the processing facilities during dredging, as it did in prior years.
Finger Lakes Railway Corp., a privately owned shortline railroad headquartered in Geneva, NY, will be responsible for switching railcars at the processing facility and for tracking railcars while in transit to and from the processing facility.
In 2013, dredging will be performed in a stretch of river between Fort Edward and Northumberland, NY. As activities move south, dredging takes place in a greater number of discrete, scattered locations which are shallower and will require movement of equipment over longer distances (up to 30 miles) through as many as seven locks.
The approach to dredging will be the same as in prior years: dredged sediments will be placed in large barges that, when filled, will be pushed by tugs through Lock 7 of the New York State Champlain Canal to the processing facility. There, sediment will be unloaded, processed and dewatered, and placed onto railcars for shipment. Water removed from the sediment will be treated at GE’s water treatment facility at the Fort Edward site and then discharged to the Champlain Canal. You can see a video of Hudson River dredging activities here.