EPA expands slate of hearings on PCB cleanup plan

Woods Pond in Lenox is the focal point of the cleanup of PCBs from the Housatonic River. The Environmental Protection Agency plans to hold three public hearings - two on Aug. 26 and another on Sept. 15 - on the "Rest of River" cleanup plan.

PITTSFIELD — Rather than hold one public hearing on its new proposal to remove toxins from the Housatonic River, the federal government now plans three.

The Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it has added two comment sessions and has also extended the deadline for public comment on its current "Rest of River" remedy to polychlorinated biphenyl pollution by the General Electric Co.

The agency now plans to lead two separate hearings Aug. 26 and then a third Sept. 15. Initially, one one was planned for Aug. 26.

All sessions will be held online due to the pandemic. The hearings can be accessed through Adobe Connect or by telephone. People who want to speak must register in advance, the agency says.

Information on the sessions can be found at EPA's Housatonic River web page: epa.gov/ge-housatonic.

The August events will be held from 1 to 4:30 p.m. and from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Similarly, the Sept. 15 session will start at 6:30 p.m. and run to 10 p.m.

Meantime, the comment period now runs to Sept. 18. Comments have been received since July 14.

The hearings seek public views on the agency's newly outlined changes to the 2016 cleanup plan for the "Rest of River" portion of the Housatonic.

At the hearings, the EPA will outline permit changes, then take comments. All views will be recorded and entered into the record, the EPA says.

The introductory remarks by the agency will be made available online ahead of the sessions.

For help getting access, people can call ZaNetta Purnell, the agency's community involvement coordinator, at 617-918-1306 or reach her by email at purnell.zanetta@epa.gov.