POUGHKEEPSIE — Working under the approval of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. is executing a comprehensive, $40 million cleanup plan that will remove by-products of a former “manufactured gas plant” (MGP) that once made gas from coal to make light and heat for Poughkeepsie’s homes and businesses. The plant operated from 1911 until the 1950s, when it was replaced by clean, modern natural gas.
“This important project benefits the environment, the Hudson River and the Poughkeepsie waterfront community,” said Charles A. Freni, President and C.E.O. of Central Hudson. “Initiatives such as these improve the quality of life in our region, and we’re proud to do our part to protect and preserve the environment.”
MGPs were used throughout the country from the mid-1800s through the early to mid-1900s. In New York State alone, more than 300 MGPs were built and operated by local gas companies, and were eventually decommissioned when natural gas was first introduced in the 1950s by the interstate pipeline system.
The cleanup is taking place at Central Hudson’s property in Poughkeepsie near the intersection of North Water Street and Dutchess Avenue, and along the eastern banks of the Hudson River beneath the Walkway Over the Hudson. Remediation will address by-products from both river sediments and the adjoining property. The site is approximately 13 acres in size and is adjacent other former industrial and commercial properties. When completed, the multi-year project is anticipated to provide benefits to the Poughkeepsie waterfront community.
Central Hudson, in conjunction with the NYSDEC and NYSDOH, is participating in the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program to clean up the site and a remediation plan to remove the contaminants was developed, approved and implemented. Since 1986, Central Hudson has been working cooperatively with the NYSDEC to investigate and identify impacts to the site, and more recently, the NYSDOH and other state and federal regulatory agencies have also been engaged to develop and implement the cleanup plan.
Remediation activities include removal of on-shore soils, replacement of an approximately 700-foot bulkhead along the shoreline, capping the steep river bank and utility crossings and dredging several acres of river sediment adjacent to the site.
Activities in 2018 include on-land remediation and the installation of a new bulkhead and barrier wall, expected to be completed by year-end. In-river sediment removal and other activities are anticipated to take place from Sept. to Dec. 2019 and 2020, according to state-permitted work schedules.
Central Hudson currently operates and maintains natural gas pipeline and electric facilities on the property. The area in the vicinity of the former plant has been in continual industrial use by other parties since the early 1800s.
In addition to the North Water Street site, Central Hudson has addressed or is in the process of addressing five other former MGP sites located in Poughkeepsie, Kingston, Newburgh, Beacon and Catskill. To date, cleanup activities have been conducted for all but the North Water Street site in Poughkeepsie.
For more information and to view the NYSDEC Decision Document for the project, visit www.CentralHudson.com/Cleanup; and for more on manufactured gas plants and remediation activities, visit the NYSDEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/8430.html.