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Outreach Program Purpose
Housatonic Rest of River is the term used in the Consent Decree to describe the investigation and decision making process for the Housatonic River from the confluence of the East and West Branch downstream into Connecticut. Under the terms of the Consent Decree, EPA conducted studies and investigations to support the Agency in developing Human Health and Ecological Risk Assessments and in performing a Modeling Study of the hydrodynamics, sediment transport, and PCB fate and bioaccumulation in the river. The reports from these activities underwent formal external Peer Review. Following the RCRA process outlined in the Reissued RCRA Permit (Appendix G to the Consent Decree) GE prepared a Supplemental RCRA Facility Investigation Report, and proposed interim cleanup goals for the Rest of River upon completion of the risk assessment Peer Reviews. GE submitted a proposal for evaluating cleanup alternatives and, after EPA conditional approval of this proposal, GE evaluated cleanup alternatives (corrective measures) for the Rest of River, including a no action scenario. EPA will then propose a selected alternative for public comment.
EPA is beginning its decision-making process for the cleanup of the Housatonic Rest of River. In doing so, EPA is considering the information presented in the Revised Corrective Measures Study (RCMS) submitted by GE in October of 2010, as well as public input and other information as necessary. The purpose of the RCMS was to evaluate potentially applicable technologies and cleanup alternatives for the Rest of River to reduce risk to human health and the environment from PCBs, and to prevent further downstream transport of PCBs.
There are three categories of actions being evaluated:
- Management of in-place sediment and riverbank soil (the SED alternatives),
- Management of in-place floodplain soil (the FP alternatives), and
- Treatment and disposition (TD alternatives).
These actions are evaluated against nine criteria specified in the Revised RCRA Permit. In addition, the RCMS contains GE's recommendation as to which alternative it believes best meets the criteria and objectives. GE concluded that either Monitored Natural Recovery (SED 2 and FP1) or the combination of SED 10/FP9, and onsite disposal of contaminated sediment and soil in a local landfill best met the criteria.
Now EPA is evaluating the alternatives and combinations of alternatives against the criteria to determine which cleanup plan EPA believes best meets the criteria.
EPA's consultants held a series of interviews with stakeholders over the past few months regarding their view of the process and information needs.
One of the outcomes of these interviews is this series of mini workshops and the all-day hands-on session scheduled for May 7 for stakeholders to learn and interact regarding the Rest of River cleanup. The purpose if these meetings are to
- Provide the community with -
- an understanding of the work that EPA (and others) have done on the Rest of River
- an understanding of how the river works and it is affected by the PCB contamination
- an opportunity to get their questions answered
- Result - Stakeholders have a better understanding of the issues associated with any cleanup of the Housatonic River
After public comment, EPA will finalize the corrective measure(s) to be implemented for the Rest of River. GE and/or the public may then appeal EPA's decision to the EPA Environmental Appeals Board, and then to the Federal Court of Appeals. As specified in the Consent Decree, upon completion of all appeals, the remedy that was upheld will be implemented by GE as a CERCLA action.