Contamination Concerns at the Former General Electric (GE) Hudson Falls Capacitor Plant
Widespread polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and semi-volatileorganic chemicals (SVOCs) were documented at the former GE Hudson Falls Capacitor Plant by areport entitled: Recommendations for a Comprehensive Site_Wide Remedy and Feasibility Study forBedrock Groundwater (OU-2C and OU-2D) Hudson Falls Plant Site, GeoTrans, Inc., March 2, 2001.PCB-containing dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) was identified over a large area. The reportnotes: "GE, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and the U. S.EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] have recognized that the Site [Hudson Falls] has been theprincipal upstream source of PCBs to the Hudson River."According to the report:
"Site investigations completed between 1975 and December 2000 have characterized thecontamination at the Site. These studies have shown that the groundwater in the overburden soils andthe bedrock beneath the Site is contaminated with PCBs, volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), and that the primary direction of contaminant migration is westand south away from the plant Site toward the Hudson River, although some easterly migration has alsooccurred. The overburden soils are also contaminated with PCBs, VOCs, and SVOCs. The RIs[Remedial Investigations] have determined that the source of the Site contamination is from historicalchemical releases, including releases of DNAPL, in the vicinity of the former manufacturing buildings atthe Site where those substances were used, stored, or received in capacitor manufacturing operations."
"The DNAPLs migrated into the bedrock beneath the Site. Once in the bedrock, DNAPL migrationhas been controlled by the fractures in the underlying bedrock. These include the three steeply dippingfracture sets, as well as the bedding parallel fractures associated with the two fault planes in the SnakeHill Shale. The steeply dipping fractures would have allowed downward DNAPL migration, and thebedding parallel fractures and fault planes would have allowed lateral DNAPL migration."
"The number, the areal and the vertical extent, the volume, and the interconnectedness of the DNAPLreservoirs in the bedrock beneath the Site and surrounding areas are not known. In addition to thelocalized regions of recoverable DNAPL accumulations within the bedrock, the migrating DNAPL lefttrails of residual DNAPL accumulations in the form of disconnected immobile droplets, blobs, andganglia in pore spaces of the overburden soil and fractures within the bedrock."
"The spatial distribution of dissolved contamination is similar to the distribution of DNAPLcontamination, but more areally extensive. For the purpose of this report, the term dissolved-phasecontamination refers to contamination which is transported with the groundwater and includes emulsionsand colloids as well as contaminants actually dissolved in the groundwater."The report proposed an unprecedented Bedrock Drain Collection System to capture the Site'scontamination in order to safeguard the Hudson River. That system has been built, but has not yet beenoperated.