Federal regulators have approved General Electric's plan to dismantle a Hudson River PCB cleanup plant used during six years of dredging, which concluded this fall.
The Environmental Protection Agency's approval announced Thursday gives GE the go-ahead to begin taking down the 110-acre sediment processing plant in Fort Edward, reconstructing the site according to the plan, which will continue into 2016.
Mary Mears is Deputy Director of Public Affairs for EPA Region 2. "We expect this will go into 2016. We don't have an exact timeline because GE hasn't really begun the process in earnest yet, but we expect that it will be going into the next year."
Spokesman Mark Behan says GE will immediately begin the process of decommissioning the sediment processing facilities on the upper Hudson.1 "And that work is scheduled to be completed next year. And even as this aspect of the Hudson River dredging project comes to a close, GE is now shifting its focus to other cleanup work on the Hudson, including our focus on the flood plains with EPA, and our ongoing monitoring of Hudson River conditions over the next several years to assess the effectiveness of the dredging project."
A three-member group of government officials by name of "The Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees" had asked the EPA to delay the dismantling in case more dredging is needed.
EPA says a temporary facility could be employed if that happens. Again, Mary Mears. "Having this facility dismantled does not preclude future dredging."
In September, Village of Fort Edward mayor Matthew Traver said he and the village board felt the decommissioning and dismantling offered a great opportunity to redevelop the entire area. "I know the current landowners are certainly excited and looking forward to try to go out and market that to try and bring other industries in to the area to help Washington County and help Fort Edward."
Specific, detailed economic development options for the processing plant site have yet to be revealed.
Behan adds GE is looking forward to working with EPA, local community leaders and property owners in the Upper Hudson. "To determine what infrastructure at the dewatering facility might be left behind after its clear of any contamination. Infrastructure like transportation and the energy equipment that would be permitted to remain and to perhaps be used for future economic development activity on that site, and job creation."
The EPA will also oversee habitat restoration work to be conducted by GE along the dredged areas through 2016.