As GE splits, PCB cleanup deal for Housatonic River still ‘binding’

A section of the William Stanley Business Park, part of the former General Electric property, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. (Nancy Eve Cohen/NEPM)

General Electric announced Tuesday it’s reorganizing into three companies, two of which it plans to spin off. The company isn’t saying yet which of its new companies will keep its commitment to clean up the Housatonic River.

About 20 years ago, GE signed a court-ordered agreement to remove PCBs from the river, and from the site of its now-closed factory in Pittsfield, which left behind the toxic waste.

Since then, the company and the EPA have removed PCBs from the first two miles of the river south of the plant. Last year GE agreed to a settlement to clean up more of the river downstream. The plan was challenged by some environmental groups, and a decision by an EPA appeals board is pending.

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