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.”


A Historic Achievement for the Hudson River

Over the last 30 years, through the efforts of many organizations and individuals, a transformation has taken place in the Hudson River. Environmental conditions have improved dramatically. The U.S. EPA hails the successful completion of the dredging project as a historic achievement.

EPA, New York State and GE have worked together to clean up PCBs on land and in the river. Long-term cleanup projects at two former GE plant sites have ensured that PCBs in groundwater are no longer a threat to the river or the community. An unprecedented dredging project removed the majority of PCBs from the Upper Hudson. At every monitoring station along the Hudson, tests show PCB levels in water have declined dramatically. The chart above shows the reduction in PCB levels in fish in the Upper Hudson since 1990. The EPA and New York State report that the Hudson River is safe for swimming, wading, boating and use as a source of treated drinking water.

We intend to build on this progress. GE is continuing to collect environmental data (water, sediment and fish) to assess the ongoing progress of the river. The company is also continuing to perform remedial work on its former plant sites in Fort Edward and Hudson Falls. And GE is working with EPA to assess the shorelines along the Upper Hudson to identify where PCBs are present and determine the best way to address them.

GE will continue to meet its Hudson River commitments to federal and state regulatory agencies and local communities.

EPA says dredging met goal of reducing PCB levels

On April 11, 2019, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 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. On March 11, 2021, New York State’s legal challenge to EPA’s declaration that the dredging project was successfully completed was rejected by U.S. District Court Judge David N. Hurd.

GE completed the dredging portion of the work in 2015, having removed twice the amount of PCBs as originally anticipated. In six construction seasons (2009 and 2011-2015), GE addressed 100 percent of the PCBs targeted by EPA, removing 310,000 pounds of PCBs from the Upper Hudson River. EPA's report confirmed no additional dredging is necessary.

GE also reconstructed habitat in dredged areas in one of the largest aquatic replanting programs ever undertaken. Approximately 1.4 million new plants were planted in wetland areas along the river shoreline and in river-bottom areas as part of a comprehensive plan approved by EPA, New York State and other agencies. The plants included wild celery, American pondweed and broad-leaved arrowhead plants, among other species.

EPA has projected it will take eight years after the completion of dredging 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.

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 more than two-thirds near Fort Edward to more than one-third near Poughkeepsie. (2021 Water Sampling Data)


Click on image to see larger graph

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 200-mile stretch of the river.

(See a history of fish data from the Lower Hudson River by clicking on the chart.)

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.