General Electric will be assuming the bulk of the cost in building a waterline from Troy to several communities along the Hudson River, where officials are worried that a dredging operation later this year could interrupt their supply of clean water.
Although it has been established that GE will pay a portion of the costs associated with dredging the Hudson for PCBs, carcinogens that the company dumped into the river for years until they were banned, it was revealed on Monday, Jan. 26, that the EPA will be ordering that the company pay $7 million toward an $8.2 million pipeline from Troy.
The pipeline will provide Troy water to the towns of Waterford, Halfmoon and Stillwater if and when the levels of PCBs in their drinking water rise above federal thresholds of 500 parts per trillion.
Leaders in those communities say that isn't acceptable, and they want an alternate water source for the entirety of the dredging operations, not just when tests indicate that the water has become unsafe.
This doesn't get Halfmoon to where it needs to be for safe, affordable drinking water for the town, said Halfmoon Supervisor Mindy Wormuth. "We didn't pollute the river, so we shouldn't be responsible for paying the costs."
Halfmoon, along with the villages of Stillwater, Waterford, Mechanicville and Saratoga County will be filing a lawsuit against the EPA to get their alternate water source.
EPA Spokeswoman Kristen Skopeck said that the EPA's hands are legally tied when it comes to providing water during the dredging.
"It would be inconsistent with the law for the EPA to pay for water when the levels are below the threshold," she said. "We are taxpayer-funded, and there are laws dictating this."
The Superfund Program, established in 1980 following the Love Canal incident in Niagara Falls, outlines how the EPA will respond to cleanup or prevent the release of hazardous wastes.