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General Electric Co - Hudson Falls

EPA Identification Number: NYD002080075
Facility Location: 5 John Street, Hudson Falls, New York 12839 Site Map
Facility Contact Name: Edward LaPoint, PE, (518) 862-2730
EPA Contact Name: Andy Park, (212) 637-4184, park.andy@epa.gov
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Case Manager: Kevin Farrar, (518) 402-9778, kxfarrar@gw.dec.state.ny.us
Last Updated: April 2009
Environmental Indicator Status:

Human Exposures Under Control [PDF 4.10 MB, 13 pp] has been verified.
Groundwater Contamination Under Control: No status has been recorded.

Site Description

GE Company is located at 5 John Street in Hudson Falls, New York. This 25-acre site is within an area of residential and industrial zoning in the Village of Hudson Falls. The site is generally flat, but has a near-vertical drop to the Hudson River along its western boundary. The facility has been divided into four areas for investigative and corrective-action purposes:

The facility manufactured small industrial capacitors from 1952 until 1995. Property to the southwest of the facility is owned by the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation (NMPC), and includes the Eastern Raceway, the Allen Mill, and the old NMPC power station. Residential neighborhoods are located to the east of the facility, off Derby Street.

Site Responsibility and Legal Instrument

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is the lead agency for the RCRA corrective action process at this site. The work is being performed under a 1997 Order on Consent between NYSDEC and GE, and another issued in March of 2004.

Permit Status

The facility filed for Interim Status for tank storage, but submitted and received approval for certification of its tank storage closure prior to the issuance of a permit.

Potential Threats and Contaminants

Multiple releases (spills, leaks, and cleaning and storage procedures) have led to significant soil and groundwater contamination at the facility. Polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, are the primary contaminant, and volatile organic compounds are also present. In the past, PCBs have flowed directly from the site through rock fractures to the Hudson River. Discharge, prior to environmental regulations, from the former 002 wastewater outfall pipe at the facility also resulted in releases of PCBs directly to the Hudson River, which have contaminated sediments downstream.

Data indicate the site has been a major source of the PCB contamination of the Hudson River, and therefore has had a significant influence on PCB concentrations in fish. Consumption of fish is the most important route of human exposure to PCBs from the Hudson River. Interim Corrective Measures (described in the next section, ACleanup Approach and Progress@) at the GE Hudson Falls site have reduced the releases substantially.

Regarding vapor intrusion, PCB contamination has been found in groundwater, both in the overburden and bedrock, in surface and subsurface soils. The volatile organic compound plume moves away from the river because of the slant in the bedrock. The plume is 80 feet below grade in the bedrock, and the overburden is not contaminated, so indoor air is not likely to be a problem in residences sitting atop the plume.

About 95 percent of the site is paved, and levels of contamination found at the surface are not very high, so a trespasser exposure scenario is not considered to be likely. There is a health and safety program in place at the facility to protect the remaining workers, who are there for cleanup activities. Tests of all private wells in the area have not found contamination. EPA's 2002 Record of Decision for the 200-mile-long Superfund site calls for targeted environmental dredging in a 40-mile area of the upper Hudson. Elimination of discharges from GE's Hudson Falls and Ft. Edward facilities is necessary before dredging can begin and in order to meet the site remediation goals.

It has been determined that about three ounces daily of PCB material is still leaching from the site and entering the Hudson River, despite the operation of a groundwater remediation system. Additionally, there are significant areas of soil contamination still present on site. A Record of Decision was published in March 2004 that requires General Electric to address both of these problems, as will be described in the following section.

Cleanup Approach and Progress

The facility stopped using PCBs in their manufacturing processes in 1977, and the plant=s use of organic solvents has also been discontinued in recent years as manufacturing has ceased at this facility. Presently, there are general and specific fish advisories for the Hudson River between Hudson Falls and New York City, and enforcement of catch-and-release-only fishing between Hudson Falls and Troy. These institutional controls are intended to prevent human exposure to PCBs.

An environmental investigation was conducted in several phases between 1993 and the present. Since 1993, GE has performed a number of interim corrective measures at the facility to reduce the amount of PCB entering the Hudson River. Actions taken include:

At this time, a 35-well collection system of pumps has been installed to pump groundwater for treatment and to retrieve recoverable PCB oil, and this system is very effective at preventing further deposition of PCBs into the river. It is estimated that five pounds of PCB was leaching from the site into the river daily before the groundwater system became operational, and that is reduced now to only about three ounces. Nonetheless, this remaining amount of PCB must be eliminated.

In March 2004, a Record of Decision was published that calls for the enhancement of the existing groundwater remediation system with a system of tunnels and drains that will extend under the Hudson River, increasing the hydraulic control over the groundwater so that no additional PCB can leave the Hudson Falls site. The March 2004 Record of Decision also requires more soils remediation, including demolition of some facility buildings and deposition of an engineered soil cap over the entire site. These activities will be accomplished under a new Administrative Order, which is currently being negotiated by the NYSDEC and GE.

Final Cleanup Status or Projection

Site Repository

Copies of supporting technical documents and correspondence cited in this site fact sheet are available for public review at:

NYSDEC Albany
Bureau of Radiation and Hazardous Sites Management
Division of Environmental Remediation
625 Broadway, 8th floor
Albany, NY 12233 7251

NYSDEC
Region 5 Office
Route 86, PO Box 296
Ray Brook, NY 12977-0296

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) makes its public records available for a review under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).

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