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Saratoga County Reaches $5.3 Million Settlement With General Electric

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The Saratoga County Water Authority’s action against General Electric began in 2011. Due to pollution of the Hudson River caused by GE’s PCB dredging operations, Saratoga County had to move its plant to the town of Moreau, in the northern portion of the county. Most of the population and customer base, however, is located in the southern portion of the county.

On May 11th, the Water Authority and the county, which served as a co-plaintiff, reached a settlement with General Electric for $5.3 million.

The resolution was approved by the County Law and Finance Committee Wednesday and just needs County Board of Supervisors’ chairman Mo Wright’s signature at the May meeting.

“It was a big expense moving that far north. You figure it was a huge water system and we had to put a lot of pipe in the ground because of that,” said Wright.

The Water Authority will also approve the agreement. At Wednesday’s Agenda Session meeting, Water Authority Board Chairman and Waterford Town Supervisor Jack Lawler said the settlement was “good news.”

With dredging work completed on the Hudson last year, GE spokesman Mark Behan said the company was pleased it could reach a settlement with the parties. The company has settled similar cases with other Saratoga County communities.

“And we had previously reached settlements with the towns and villages of Waterford and Stillwater, so we really thought this was as an appropriate resolution to what, in the last several years, has really become protracted litigation,” said Behan.

The Town of Halfmoon still has pending litigation over the costs relating to changing its water source. 

Town supervisor Kevin Tollisen said Halfmoon could not reach an agreement with the company at the recent court conference.

“We weren't able to settle on GE with any type of arrangement at this point. Negotiations are ongoing and we would like to resolve the matter if we can. But we would like to move forward with litigation and trial if necessary,” said Tollisen.

Tollisen said a trial would likely occur in September, but he is hoping for a resolution before then if possible.

“We’re eager to get this resolved for our town residents but we’re mindful of the cost of it and would like to resolve it if possible,” said Tollisen.

Behan said GE will also work toward a resolution.

“Well all of the other parties have now settled, of course, and we remain hopeful as well that a fair and reasonable resolution can be achieved,” said Behan.

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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