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Background and Site Information

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The Hudson River PCBs Site encompasses a nearly 200-mile stretch of the Hudson River in eastern New York State from Hudson Falls, New York to the Battery in New York City and includes communities in fourteen New York counties and two counties in New Jersey. The site is divided into the Upper Hudson River, which runs from Hudson Falls to the Federal Dam at Troy (a distance of approximately 40 miles), and the Lower Hudson River, which runs from the Federal Dam at Troy to the southern tip of Manhattan at the Battery in New York City. For purposes of this project, EPA further divided the Upper Hudson River area into three main sections known as River Section 1, River Section 2, and River Section 3.

Hudson River LocksFrom approximately 1947 to 1977, the General Electric Company (GE) discharged as much as 1.3 million pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from its capacitor manufacturing plants at the Hudson Falls and Fort Edward facilities into the Hudson River.

The primary health risk associated with the site is the accumulation of PCBs in the human body through eating contaminated fish. Since 1976, high levels of PCBs in fish have led New York State to close various recreational and commercial fisheries and to issue advisories restricting the consumption of fish caught in the Hudson River. PCBs are considered probable human carcinogens and are linked to other adverse health effects such as low birth weight, thyroid disease, and learning, memory, and immune system disorders. PCBs in the river sediment also affect fish and wildlife.

The Upper Hudson River region includes certain areas that have been and may continue to be sources of PCB contamination to the river, including GE’s Hudson Falls plant and Fort Edward plant, and Remnant Deposits 1-5, which are areas of PCB-contaminated sediment that became exposed after the river water level dropped following removal of the Fort Edward Dam in 1973.. These source areas have been and/or are planned to be addressed by response actions by EPA, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and GE.

EPA’s February 2002 Record of Decision (ROD) for the Hudson River PCBs Superfund Site addresses the risks to people and ecological receptors associated with PCBs in the in-place sediments of the Upper Hudson River.

EPA is the lead agency for cleanup of the Hudson River PCBs Superfund site. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Exit EPA disclaimer is the support agency for this project. The United States Department of Interior (Fish and Wildlife Service) Exit EPA disclaimer and the United States Department of Commerce (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Exit EPA disclaimer are federal trustees of natural resources.

For information about this page, contact: kluesner.dave@epa.gov


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