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Oct 30, 1:46 PM EDT

Hudson River PCB dredging winding down for year; Superfund project expected to finish in 2015


FORT EDWARD, N.Y. (AP) -- A fifth season of PCB dredging in the upper Hudson River will finish next week, federal regulators said Thursday.

About 2.5 million cubic yards of sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls have been removed over the course of the $2 billion federal Superfund project. Dredging of the remaining PCBs is expected to finish next year, with an additional year of habitat planting and reconstruction, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA believes the dredging will clean the river of PCB contamination and eventually make the fish safe to eat.

"We're already seeing how the cleanup is changing the outlook for Hudson River communities that have been burdened with a toxic legacy for decades," EPA regional administrator Judith Enck said in a statement.

Fairfield, Connecticut-based General Electric Co. agreed with the EPA to remove PCBs from a 40-mile stretch of the river decades after discharging about 1.3 million pounds of PCBs, which were used as coolants in electrical equipment.

The EPA says about 575,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated sediment were dredged from the bottom of the river this year, exceeding the annual goal.

Clean sand and gravel will be placed over dredged areas in the coming weeks. The dredged material remaining at GE's nearby dewatering facility will be shipped by train to out-of-state disposal facilities by the end of the year, according to the EPA.

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