As a large, successful company with more than 100 years of manufacturing legacy, GE is associated with many properties that have legacy contamination issues. As a responsible corporation, GE is committed to addressing environmental liabilities resulting from our manufacturing operations, as well as from sites where we inherited those liabilities. GE works cooperatively with the respective regulatory agencies, landowners, and other stakeholders to identify and implement practical remedial solutions.
GE is committed to helping identify reuse and redevelopment opportunities for its inactive industrial sites, commonly referred to as “brownfields.” GE’s brownfields program focuses on preparing GE’s underutilized, surplus properties for productive reuse. The brownfields team identifies properties that have redevelopment potential, evaluates environmental risks, and proactively prepares those sites for appropriate end uses by public and private partners.
A prime example is the effort under way at GE’s former manufacturing facility in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Used for industrial purposes for 90 years, the site ceased operations in 2007. When an evaluation found that the large industrial buildings were functionally obsolete and unlikely to be reused, GE removed the structures to clear the site for future development. GE performed the environmental investigation, remediation and demolition at the site and is now working with the City of Bridgeport to redevelop a portion of the parcel as a much-needed new high-school complex.
During 2016, GE sold for reuse 48 former manufacturing facilities to a variety of end users and developers. These sales returned sites no longer used or needed by GE to the markets in their respective communities, so that the sites potentially can be redeveloped into a variety of industrial, commercial and residential uses.
From 65 to 35 years ago, GE operated manufacturing facilities on the upper Hudson River that used and discharged polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). In 2002, under the Federal Superfund Program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selected as a remedy the dredging of approximately 2.65 million cubic yards of sediment from nearly 500 acres of the river bottom, from a 40-mile section of the river. GE entered into agreements with the U.S. EPA to design and implement the project and fund U.S. EPA oversight.
Dredging began in 2009 and was completed in October 2015. The EPA reviewed and approved all work and oversaw the implementation of the project. Over 2.75 million cubic yards of sediment, containing 310,000 pounds of PCBs — more than twice the amount the EPA originally estimated — were removed and disposed of safely. In 2016, GE completed decommissioning of the support facilities, including the approximately 110-acre sediment dewatering and transportation facility, and returned the property to the landowners. GE has worked closely with the local communities and landowners and left behind significant infrastructure (e.g., roads, railyard, electrical distribution, etc.) that will support future local economic development projects.
The project is the most extensive dredging project undertaken in the United States and, as stated by the U.S. EPA, “its success is a historic achievement for the recovery of the Hudson River.”
Although the dredging portion of the project is complete, GE’s work on the Hudson River will continue, including the ongoing cleanup of the GE manufacturing sites, habitat reconstruction in areas that were dredged, and continued monitoring of environmental conditions in the river. Most significantly, GE will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the floodplains along the river shorelines, building on several years of significant sampling and remedial work in those areas.