EPA to set date tonight for PCB cleanup announcement


LENOX -- The long-awaited second PCB cleanup plan for the Housatonic River should be released by this summer for public scrutiny.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency tonight plans to discuss the timeline for unveiling the "Rest of the River" proposal, according Jim Murphy, spokesman for EPA Region 1.

The discussion will be part of a general update before the Citizens Coordinating Council on further cleanup of the Housatonic. The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Lenox Library on Main Street.

"We now expect in May or June to release the plan," Murphy said in an Eagle interview on Tuesday.

After two years of review with Massachusetts and Connecticut environmental officials, along with representative of General Electric, Murphy says the EPA is determined to finalize the draft proposal.

"We're getting back on track," he said. "We really want to get something to the public."

Murphy added that the public will likely have up to 60 days to comment on the plan, the details of which will remain under wraps until it's released.

While the EPA has publicly stated a PCB landfill won't be part of its Rest of the River cleanup plan for GE, local environmentalists and citizen groups doubt the company will go along with the federal agency's scenario.

The expanded PCB cleanup from southern Pittsfield to the Connecticut border is expected to include dredging of contaminated sediment from a 10-mile section of river south of Fred Garner Park in Pittsfield.

The PCBs leached into the Housatonic from the former GE transformer plant in Pittsfield. The suspected cancer-causing chemical was banned by the U.S. government in 1977.

To reach Dick Lindsay:


or (413) 496-6233.

On Twitter: @BE_DLindsay.


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