The third season of dredging along the Hudson will come to a close later this week. Our Brooke Selby looks at the impact the PCB removal has on the economy in the North Country.
FORT EDWARD, N.Y. -- For more than 30 years, ending in the 1977, GE dumped contaminated chemicals known as PCBs in the river from their two plants in Hudson Falls and Fort Edward.
David King of the EPA said, "Dredging will actual go in and remove the bottom sediment down to a depth where we get to a clean level. We define clean as less than one part of a million."
Years later, the EPA is still cleaning it up.
King said, "We started in 2009. Our dredging season is May 1 to about November 15th because that is the time when the Champlain Canal is open."
The cleanup efforts have actually boosted the affected area's economy. Dredging has brought hundreds of jobs to the area.
Fort Edward Superintendant Mitch Suprenant said, “When you have 500 workers come into town for nine months out of the year, it's certainly a benefit to the local area."
The process has already removed sediment from more than 600,000 cubic square feet along a three mile stretch of the Hudson River in Fort Edward.
While the dredging season will come to a close later this week, the EPA plans to resume activities this May, but there is concern about what will happen when the project is finished.
Suprenant said they are “Not waiting for the dredging to stop. We are trying to stop and say oh no, what do we do now, we are trying to put plans into motion so we can continue the economic boom."
King also said, "This is the largest superfund project going on right now. We will continue probably for another three to five years."
The EPA hopes to reach their goal by removing more than half of the sediment by next year.