The evaluation of clean-up options for the Housatonic will continue under EPA’s direction. GE has already concluded the following:
- There is no reliable evidence that exposure to PCBs at the levels found in the Housatonic are associated with adverse health effects in humans.
- Even after a large-scale dredging project that takes years to complete, PCB levels in fish would remain above the levels EPA considers safe for unrestricted human consumption.
- Dredging could take more than 50 years to complete. During this period, access roads, staging areas and dewatering facilities will be built, in close proximity and further away from areas directly impacted by clean-up activities. This would cause widespread and extensive damage to the aquatic, wetland and floodplain habitats subjected to the work. This would in turn cause negative impacts to aquatic organisms and wildlife that live in the wetland and floodplain.
- A dredging project would significantly disrupt the recreational use of the river and floodplain, as well as local quality of life related to noise, traffic and the natural aesthetics of the area.
- Given these factors, and the upstream remedial work achieved to date, monitored natural recovery is the best option for the Rest of River.