FORT EDWARD (AP) — Crews began a fourth year of cleaning contaminated sediment from the upper Hudson River on Monday amid hopes they would finish the massive project within a few years.
Judith Enck, regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, visited the river town of Fort Edward as workers returned to dredge PCBs from the river bottom. General Electric Co. released poly-chlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, into the river decades ago, and is dredging the river north of Albany as part of a federal Superfund project that is expected to cost more than $1 billion.
“I think this can be a very robust dredging season and will get us even closer to our goal,” Enck said.
The EPA said it’s almost halfway to its goal of removing 2.65 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment from a 40-mile stretch of the upper Hudson.
Work crews exceed their removal goals last year, and Enck said she hoped they would maintain that efficient pace this season. Though weather and water levels affect the pace of the work, Enck said she hoped the project will be finished in 2016.
“If this year went like last year, we’re optimistic we can even beat that,” she said.
Dredge crews work six days a week as they move downriver toward Troy.
The cleanup creates 350 jobs every year, according to the EPA.