Environmental officials have selected two sites in New York to process PCB-contaminated sludge from the Hudson River, sources said Wednesday.
The sites are in Bethlehem and Fort Edward, according to a source familiar with the decision.
The Environmental Protection Agency has been winnowing down the list of sites from an original list of 24. That list sparked criticism from local leaders who complained they had not been consulted in the long-term project that has divided communities along the river.
The EPA has argued releasing its early lists is a way to make the process more open and transparent to the public.
The agency has also created a host of quality-of-life standards designed to minimize air, sound, and light disturbances from the work along the Hudson.
The “de-watering sites” will be used to separate PCB waste from sludge pulled from the river bottom, a $500 million project.
Barges or pipelines will bring sediment to the sites, where the sifting will take place, and the processed sediment will be loaded onto barges or trains for disposal.
Local officials in Fort Edward, who for months had been bracing for the announcement, said they would work together to protect the community's health and safety.
"Today, probability became reality," said town supervisor Merrilyn Pulver. "Our home, our heritage, our quality of life is being invaded and potentially could be destroyed by the largest environmental dredge project in history."
General Electric Co. discharged polychlorinated biphenyls into the river before the federal government banned them in 1977. The EPA classifies PCBs as a probable carcinogen.
Officials want each site to be about 10 acres in size to handle the operations, and authorities have spent the past months doing detailed analysis of each location.