U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:
“The Hudson River PCB Superfund dredging project has been a success ... This project is the most extensive dredging project undertaken in the nation, and its success is a historic achievement for the recovery of the Hudson River.”

EPA: Dredging Effective in Reducing PCB levels

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, on April 11, 2019, confirmed GE successfully completed the Hudson River dredging project. EPA concluded that the dredging project was effective in reducing PCB levels and said these declines are expected to continue.

GE will continue to collect environmental data to assess ongoing improvements in river conditions and to work closely with EPA, New York State, and local communities on other Hudson environmental projects.

During six seasons of dredging, GE removed twice the volume of PCBs from the river than EPA expected. As a result, as EPA reported, more than 99 percent of sediment samples taken by New York State in the Upper Hudson met the standard EPA set for the project. GE invested $1.7 billion in the project and, as EPA confirmed, has met all of its commitments.

Since the completion of dredging in October 2015:

  • 99.8% of sediment samples in the Upper Hudson show PCB levels below EPA's dredging critera. (NYS Data)
  • PCB levels in water are down at every monitoring station, from 78% near Fort Edward to 54% near Poughkeepsie. (2017 Water Sampling Data)


In 2015, GE completed dredging in New York’s Upper Hudson River — an engineering and logistical feat more than a decade in the making that removed twice as many PCBs as originally anticipated, and an accomplishment the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency called “a historic achievement.

PCB levels in water have dropped between 78% and 54% at every monitoring station along the Hudson. PCB levels in sediment have dropped as much as 96%, and PCBs in species-weighted fish samples across the Upper Hudson have dropped 58%. (See a more detailed review here.)

EPA's Five Year Report reviewing the project noted, "... the reductions in sediment PCBs from the dredging have also led to declines in surface water concentrations in the Upper Hudson. EPA is anticipating a similar reduction in PCB levels in fish, followed by continued but more gradual declines in fish tissue concentrations during the post-dredging MNA period." (Five Year Review Report, April 11, 2019, Pg. 3)

In six construction seasons (2009 and 2011-2015), GE removed 310,000 pounds of PCBs from the Upper Hudson River in what was one of the largest and most successful environmental dredging projects ever undertaken in the U.S. GE has addressed 100 percent of the PCBs targeted by EPA. EPA's report confirms no additional dredging is necessary.

EPA has projected it will take up to eight more years to collect the data needed to fully evaluate the river’s rate of PCB declines. EPA will continue to conduct Five Year Reviews as required by Superfund law.

For the next several years, GE will perform a long-term monitoring program of fish, sediments and water as part of an ongoing assessment of river conditions.


What's Next

Although dredging has been completed, GE’s work on the Hudson will continue. For the foreseeable future, GE will collect samples of fish, water and sediment from a 150-mile stretch of the river. These data will be used by EPA and others to assess the effectiveness of the dredging project. In addition, GE will monitor the habitat replacement performed along the river bottom to ensure it is re-establishing itself as EPA forecast.

In conjunction with EPA, GE will continue performing a comprehensive evaluation of the Hudson shoreline to determine whether PCBs are present and how best to address them.

GE will continue the cleanups of its Hudson Falls and Fort Edward plant sites — cleanups that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says have eliminated both sites as significant sources of PCBs to the river.