Public Workshops Scheduled by EPA on Housatonic 'Rest of River' Cleanup

By Kirsten E. Silven - 23 Mar 2011 5:56:0 GMT
Public Workshops Scheduled by EPA on Housatonic 'Rest of River' Cleanup

Image Credit: Devlin Mannle.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it will sponsor a series of public workshops for local citizens who want to be involved in the ongoing analysis surrounding the Housatonic River's clean up efforts. The workshops will include an all-day interactive session that opens the door for discussion, as well as a comprehensive overview of the context within which the cleanup will be decided upon.

In Lenox, Mass., the EPA's technical team will hold workshops during April and May that will help attendees understand the relationships between various issues surrounding the Rest of River cleanup, including alternatives to the proposed plan of action. The efforts are in response to the massive amounts of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-contaminated oil that ended up in the Housatonic River from the mid-1930s to the mid-1970s. During that time, the oil adhered to the riverbank soils and the river's sediment, severely affecting the health of the river's entire ecosystem.

The activities at the EPA Rest of River cleanup workshops are designed to let the communities that have been negatively affected by this contamination know that their input is wanted by the EPA to assist in developing a viable solution to the problem. In addition, the EPA wants residents to know that it fully understands that any decisions made will directly affect the cultural, economic, ecological and health of the entire region, which is why the Agency does not want to make any decisions without making an effort to include concerned members of the public.

The EPAs main objective for the workshops is to increase awareness among the local communities so those affected can better understand the full complexity of this cleanup effort. To help with this, the EPA is in the process of creating a temporary website that posts detailed information about the workshops and the information that will be covered, so even those who cannot attend will have a chance to access the information. The website will feature a video replay of each workshop, as well as digital copies of all handouts used.

For more information or to register, contact 413.442.4224.