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General Electric Main Plant

DEC Selects Cleanup Plan for General Electric Main Plant Site

Record of Decision for Operable Units 3 and 4 Signed on March 30, 2005

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the General Electric Main Plant State Superfund site in the City of Schenectady/Town of Rotterdam, Schenectady County.

The ROD selects a comprehensive remedy for the entire site. The selected remedy includes specific source area remedies such as excavation and removal of contaminated soils and the treatment of groundwater source areas, as well as containment and control of the former landfills.

The major elements of the selected remedy include:

  • Remedial design program to provide the details necessary for the construction, operation, maintenance, and monitoring of the proposed remedy at the site. This will include an evaluation of the potential for indoor air intrusion to site buildings from the migration of soil vapors.
  • Completed or operating Interim Remedial Measures (IRMs) and systems will be incorporated into the proposed remedy.
  • Excavation and off-site disposal of PCB-contaminated surface and subsurface soil at various locations in the manufacturing areas and former landfills.
  • Soil or asphalt covers over surface soils in portions of the manufacturing area.
  • Agronomic cover system (soil and vegetative covers) for closure of the former East and West Landfills.
  • Seep collection and treatment systems for the seeps along the former East Landfill.
  • Shallow groundwater treatment using air sparging technology for select areas between the former East Landfill and the Poentic Kill.
  • Bioremediation of groundwater contamination source areas at several locations.
  • Comprehensive Site Management Plan to guide future activities at the site.
  • Institutional controls and environmental easements, including access controls and restrictions on the future use of the site property and groundwater.
  • Comprehensive post-remedial monitoring program to evaluate the effectiveness of the remedy.
  • Periodic review of the effectiveness of the completed remedial actions.

The estimated total present worth cost to implement the remedy is $45,800,000. Capital costs for construction of the selected active remedial actions is $13,300,000. The estimated average annual operation, maintenance, and monitoring costs for 30 years is $2,513,000.

GE's history at the Main Plant site began in 1886 when Thomas Edison purchased two vacant factory buildings. GE has used Main Plant to manufacture a variety of products including electric motors and generators, gas turbines, wire and cable, insulating materials, and microwave tubes. GE's manufacturing operations at the Main Plant were generally within the central and eastern portions of the site. Over time, more than 240 structures were erected to meet GE's manufacturing needs. Currently, there are approximately 40 buildings at the 628-acre site and the Main Plant continues to produce large steam turbines and generators.

GE's studies at the site found soils containing high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in various areas of the manufacturing plant and in the former on-site landfills. Additionally, GE found several areas of contaminated groundwater and landfill leachate seeps that will be remediated. The three on-site former landfills will be closed. Off-site contamination attributable to the site was not detected during the site investigations and data indicates that the site is not impacting the City of Schenectady and Town of Rotterdam well fields to the west of the site.

The remedy was presented in a Proposed Remedial Action Plan (PRAP) released to the public on November 16, 2004. A public meeting was held on November 30, 2004 and written and verbal comments on the proposed remedy were accepted through February 28, 2005.

Copies of the ROD and other project-related documents are available for public review at the following repositories:

Schenectady County Public Library
99 Clinton Street (Main Branch)
Schenectady, New York
Contact: Reference Desk
Phone: (518) 388-4500

NYSDEC Central Office
Division of Environmental Remediation
625 Broadway, 12th Floor
Albany, NY 12233-7013
Contact: Martin Brand
Phone: (518) 402-9818

For additional information, please contact the NYSDEC Project Manager, Martin D. Brand, at 518-402-9818 or by e-mail at Main Plant.