Intermediate Design Report Factsheet
The design of the cleanup of the Hudson River has reached a key milestone.
The General Electric Company (GE) has submitted the Intermediate Design
Report (IDR) to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
This document represents approximately 60% of the final plan on how to
remove and dewater PCB-contaminated sediments from the Upper Hudson River
during the first year (Phase I) of the project. The complete design will
be submitted to EPA in early 2006. Dredging is scheduled to begin in 2007.
EPA invites the public to review this important document and provide comments to the Agency by September 26, 2005. With the public's help, EPA will be able to provide meaningful comments to GE to ensure that this project is designed safely and with the least amount of impact on the community.
What is the Intermediate Design Report?
As part of a formal agreement between EPA and GE in 2003, GE committed to designing all aspects of the cleanup of PCBs from the Hudson River. This intermediate report contains recommendations from GE regarding in-river dredging activities, construction and operation of the dewatering facility in Fort Edward, and disposal of contaminated sediments at a secure, out-of-state landfill with the capacity and permits to handle the PCB-contaminated sediments.
The dredging and dewatering activities proposed in GE's intermediate report have been designed to meet EPA's strict engineering and quality of life standards. The standards were developed to control resuspension rates during dredging while minimizing quality of life issues such as impacts on air quality, odor, noise and navigation.
The cleanup of the Hudson River is separated into two phases, with Phase
1 initially occurring at a reduced rate and Phase 2 starting at full production
after an evaluation of Phase 1 is reviewed by the public and an independent
panel of experts. Extensive monitoring will be done during both phases
to ensure that dredging operations are done safely and that the public's
health is protected at all times.
The following summarizes the key recommendations found in GE's Intermediate Design Report.
In-River Dredging During Phase 1
Dredging of approximately 265,000 cubic yards of sediment will begin
in May 2007 and continue into October. In order to dredge that amount
of material, dredging must occur 24 hours a day, six days a week, with
the seventh day reserved for maintenance and make-up time for unplanned
Environmental bucket dredges will be used. This is a type of mechanical dredging that uses a sealed bucket to capture the contaminated sediment. Up to seven dredges may be
operating at one time. Tugboats and barges will transport the sediment to the dewatering facility located between Locks 7 and 8 on the Champlain Canal.
During peak dredging operations, the barges will make up to 26 trips through Lock 7 each day.
A marine support facility at the New York State-owned West River Road boat launch in Moreau is proposed. This facility will provide docks for approximately 26 support vessels (e.g., survey, sampling and oversight boats) to reduce the number of project-related vessels that need to travel through Lock 7. Dredged sediments will not be transported to or processed at the West River Road boat launch.
After dredging, clean sand, gravel or stone may be used as backfill to
cover some dredged areas. Backfilling will require between 134,000 and
186,000 cubic yards of clean material and will start approximately one
month after dredging ends, continuing through mid-November. The clean
backfill materials will be transported directly from the staging areas
of one or more quarries on the river to dredged areas via barge. Approximately
five barges will be needed for backfilling operations, bringing the total
number of barges operating on the river at any one time to 12.
Potential sources of backfill and capping materials must be located either on the Hudson River or a connecting waterway, or have access to a staging area on the Hudson to enable transport by barge. A review of quarries that satisfy this and other criteria has been completed as part of GE's intermediate design; the shortlist includes quarries located in Amsterdam, Mechanicville, Fort Edward, Glens Falls, Hartford and Fort Ann. The final selection of backfill or capping material suppliers will be included in the Phase 1 Final Design Report (2006).
To minimize and control sediment resuspension during Phase I, sheet piling and silt curtains are proposed to be installed in the river in the eastern channels off Rogers Island and Griffin Island. A significant volume of sediment will be removed from the Rogers Island area. Sheet piling at the northern end of this channel, along with the amount of equipment necessary to conduct dredging in the narrow channel, requires closing this portion of the channel, as well as access to the Fort Edward Yacht Basin, to non-project-related vessels for the duration of Phase I.
EPA selected the Energy Park site, located in the Town and Village of Fort Edward between the Champlain Canal and Towpath Road, for use as a dewatering and processing facility. During construction, trucks will transport materials to the site via Towpath Road, crossing over the railroad tracks at an existing crossing. This access road will be used only during construction of the dewatering facility.
Infrastructure, including electricity, water, sewers, utilities and roads,
will be developed within the property. Approximately 100,000 cubic yards
of backfill will be used to grade the property for construction, and security
fencing will be placed around the entire
perimeter of the property. Clearing of heavy brush and small trees will be
minimal, limited to the existing railroad tracks and area along the west side of Bond Creek, which runs across the property parallel to the Champlain Canal. Areas on the property that are not needed to support facility activities will be left undisturbed wherever
A waterfront unloading facility will be constructed on property owned by the New York State Canal Corporation (Canal Corp.). The waterfront area will encompass approximately 1,450 feet of shoreline and will be able to accommodate up to three barges at a time.
Approximately 35,000 cubic yards of material will be excavated along the canal in order to construct the facility. The existing Lock 8 access road will be relocated to the west, closer to Bond Creek, to accommodate the waterfront facility. Pedestrian and vehicular traffic along the relocated road will be restricted to Canal Corp. and project personnel.
Processing Facility Operations
During Phase 1
Operations at the processing facility will occur 24 hours a day, six days a week, with the seventh day reserved for maintenance, make-up time for unplanned outages or as a contingency to satisfy the productivity requirement.
Dredged material will be unloaded from barges by either a hydraulic or mechanical off-loader. Large debris will be separated and the remaining sediment will be sent to two hydrocyclone systems, which separate sediment into coarse material (e.g., sand and gravel) and fine (or silty) material.
Coarse material from the hydrocyclone systems will be placed on a screen to remove excess water. Fine material will be mixed with polymers to enhance dewatering and then sent through filter presses for water removal. Approximately 12 filter presses will be used.
Trucks will move the processed materials from the dewatering area to one of five enclosed structures on the property, each approximately 100 feet wide by 400 feet long and situated on concrete slab foundations.
Water generated during sediment processing, along with rain that falls
on material handling areas, will be collected for treatment. The on-site
water treatment plant will be
designed to treat approximately 2 million gallons of water a day. Once treated, the clean water will be discharged into the Champlain Canal. Monitoring will verify compliance with water quality requirements established by EPA and New York State.
Employee and delivery traffic will access the site from a new road to be constructed off East Street, across from the Fort Edward train station. The road will run along the railroad right-of-way to the southwest end of the site.
Rail Transportation and Disposal
At the staging area of the facility, front-end loaders will be used to load the dewatered sediment into railcars. The dewatered sediment will then be transported via rail to final disposal location(s).
Approximately 38,000 feet (just over 7 miles) of railroad track will be installed to enable loading, maneuvering, repair and inspection of rail cars. Rail will also be used for delivery of materials to the processing facility whenever possible.
During Phase I, approximately 390,000 tons of processed material will
be transported off-site. To move the material, up to four trains of 81
rail cars will leave from the site each week.
An estimated 350 to 650 gondola-type rail cars will be needed for Phase I. These cars will be dedicated to this project, traveling directly from the processing facility to the final disposal site(s) and back again. Either sealed cars with water-tight, hard lids or individually lined cars will be used.
An extensive review of existing facilities authorized for final disposal
of the processed material has been completed. A shortlist of facilities
authorized to dispose of sediment containing PCBs at levels of 50 parts
per million or greater has been developed. These facilities are located
in Idaho, Michigan, Oregon, Texas and Utah.
A list of facilities authorized to dispose of sediment containing PCBs at levels below 50 parts per million also has been developed. These facilities are located in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. Final selection of the landfill(s) to be used for Phase I will be included in the Phase I Final Design Report.
The rail line adjacent to the site is owned and operated by Canadian Pacific Railway, which does not serve any of the final disposal sites retained on the shortlist. This will necessitate the use of one or more additional railroad carriers to transport the processed material for final disposal. Discussions with rail carriers are ongoing, and necessary agreements and logistical arrangements will be finalized in the Phase I Final Design Report.
Monitoring Potential Impacts
Throughout the project, extensive monitoring will be conducted to meet EPA's performance standards and New York State's water quality requirements. This will include monitoring of PCB levels in water, fish and river sediments, as well as air quality, odor, noise, and lighting.
EPA's cleanup plan for the Hudson River PCBs Superfund Site was selected in the Agency's February 2002 Record of Decision (ROD) for the site. The ROD calls for targeted environmental dredging of approximately 2.65 million cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment from the Upper Hudson River between the former Fort Edward Dam and the Federal Dam at Troy. The primary goal of the Hudson River PCBs cleanup is to protect people and the environment from unacceptable risks due to PCB-contaminated sediments in the Upper Hudson River.
For More Information
Visit, call toll-free (1-866-615-6490), or write to the Hudson River Field Office at the address below or log on to www.epa.gov/hudson. The Intermediate Design Report is available for review at the information repositories located in Glens Falls, Ft. Edward (Hudson River Field Office), Ballston Spa, Albany, Poughkeepsie, New York City (EPA Region 2 offices) and in Edgewater, New Jersey. Electronic versions can be found on the EPA project Web site (www.epa.gov/hudson). Copies are also available in print and on CD-ROM by calling the Hudson River Field Office.
Public Affairs Specialist
Hudson River Field Office
421 Lower Main Street
Hudson Falls, NY 12839
Public Affairs Specialist
EPA Region 2 Office
New York, NY 10007
The Field Office hours are Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 4:30 pm, with evening hours by appointment. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
EPA Region 2 has designated a public liaison as a point-of-contact for community concerns and questions about the federal Superfund program in New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. To support this effort, the Agency has established a 24-hour, toll-free number that the public can call to request information, express concerns, or register complaints about Superfund. The public liaison for EPA's Region 2 office is: George H. Zachos, U.S. EPA, Region 2, 2890 Woodbridge Avenue MS-211
Edison, New Jersey 08837, (732) 321-6621, Toll-free (888) 283-7626.