The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel, along with State/local officials and stakeholders will announce significant recent developments regarding the ongoing cleanup of the Housatonic River in Berkshire County.

The announcement will take place Monday, Feb. 10, 1pm at the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum located at 10 Willow Creek Road in Lenox.

Some Facts About Housatonic River PCBs (as posted by the EPA)

  • The Housatonic River and its floodplain are heavily contaminated with PCBs originating from the GE Facility in Pittsfield, MA.
  • Most of the contamination is found between the confluence of the East and West branches in Pittsfield and Woods Pond Dam in Lenox and further into Rising Pond in Great Barrington, MA
  • Currently, more than 50% of the PCBs that enter Woods Pond go over the dam and continue downstream, even into Connecticut. A distance of approximately 140 miles.
  • PCBs are present in large quantities in river sediment and floodplain soil; estimates range from between 100,000 to nearly 600,000 pounds of PCBs.
  • The PCBs found at this site are persistent in the environment and resistant to biodegradation. As a result, the rate of natural degradation of the type of PCBs in the Housatonic River is very slow --- on the scale of hundreds of years.
  • Without cleanup, it would take decades if not hundreds of years, before PCB concentrations in fish would decrease to a level that would permit unlimited consumption.

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