General Electric and the federal government are in the process of figuring out a clean up plan for removing PCB pollutants from the Housatonic River. Just this week the company submitted an updated set of proposals. The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection has been weighing in.
So far General Electric and the Environmental Protection Agency have dug up PCBs in the first two miles of the river in Massachusetts. PCBs, which were once used to make electrical transformers, can cause cancer. The clean up proposals for the rest of the river do not include removing contaminants in Connecticut, because the pollution levels in that part of the river are considered quite low. However, there are PCBs buried in sediment behind dams in the state. In a letter to General Electric Connecticut’s acting environmental commissioner, Amey Marella wrote she’s concerned about the impact of PCB-laden sediment in the future, if for instance, there’s construction work done on these dams.
“You have to have special techniques for handling that material and we believe it is G.E.’s responsibility as part of the Rest of River plan to take on responsibility and provide a proposal for how those materials are going to be handled safely.”
Marella also asked for a robust plan to let the public know about the risks of eating fish caught in the river. And she pointed out cleaning up the river in Massachusetts would help prevent PCBs from flowing south. General Electric wrote Marella saying the company will keep Connecticut’s concerns in mind