Saratoga County

Shoreline mud testing shows little PCB trace

Tests of mud washed ashore during the recent flooding of the upper Hudson River show that most of th

Tests of mud washed ashore during the recent flooding of the upper Hudson River show that most of the material contains relatively low levels of PCBs.

More than 100 mud samples were taken and the majority of those tested show less than one part per million PCBs, which is below the state standard for residential surface soils, officials said Friday.

Gary Klawinski, the Hudson River project manager for the Environmental Protection Agency, said the samples were taken at 71 locations along the upper Hudson where the river flooded its banks two weeks ago.

He said most, but not all the mud samples, have been tested.

Fewer than 10 of the samples exceeded the 1 part per million PCBs standard and these ranged from just over 1 ppm to 2.5 ppm, he said.

The EPA ordered the General Electric Co. in 2002 to conduct and pay for the environmental dredging of PCB hot spots on the bottom of the Hudson between Fort Edward and Troy. PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are described by the EPA as a probable carcinogen that also cause other health problems in humans and wildlife.

Experts feared that the mud washed onto the river’s flood plain areas might have contained elevated levels of PCB.

The high water on the Hudson has delayed the start of the second phase of the dredge project.

Mark L. Behan, a GE spokesman, said Friday that the level and speed of the upper Hudson has dropped significantly since its high levels of late April and early May but is still too high for the dredge work.

“We hope to start dredging before the end of the month,” Behan said. For dredging to start the level of the river must drop below 10,000 cubic feet per second and the state Canal Corp. must open the canal system, which has been closed because of high water conditions.

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