GE agrees to floodplain rehab work

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ALBANY, N.Y (AP) -General Electric has agreed to cover PCB-contaminated floodplain soils along the upper-Hudson River, the federal Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday.

The agreement, which also will require GE to post signs and conduct monitoring, is separate from the EPA-ordered dredging of a 40-mile stretch of the Hudson River north of Albany. But it is related to GE’s discharge of wastewater containing polychlorinated biphenyls into the river until 1977.

EPA spokesman David Kluesner said the agency was concerned that long-term exposure to contaminated floodplain soil could pose a health risk.

The work, which the EPA projects will cost $1 million or less, is expected to begin next month on about a dozen properties in Fort Edward, Northumberland, Greenwich and Schuylerville.

“We’ve already been talking to the property owners,” said GE spokeswoman Joan Gerhardt.

The work comes as Fairfield, Conn.-based GE and the EPA try to reach a final cleanup plan for all contaminated floodplain sites.

The river dredging, which could cost more than $700 million, is scheduled to begin in spring of 2009.

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