Costly Superfund dredging set for Hudson River

(AP) — People look funny at David Mathis when he takes a dip off his dock in the Hudson River. Health officials have long warned people not to eat fish caught from this slow-flowing stretch south of the Adirondacks and swimming here is unthinkable to many.

I worked for a year or so in an early 19th century “gas house” (where gas was made from coal) that was situated in a back yard of a home on the Hudson River. The elder gentleman who lived in that house, the father of the man who owned the land and rented us the gas house (which we used as a lab) fished for stripers off his porch every day, and often caught them. He ate all the stripers he caught.

These fish were living on the PCB sediments from the Waterford GE PCB plant (where I later worked on the RKO device which would be used to destroy the PCBs). Once I asked the man if he thought it was safe to eat the fish, and he yelled at me for a long time about how stupid the whole environmental movement was and how the hippies should just keep to themselves.

Within six months of that conversation he was dead of several forms of cancer that kinda all rushed in there at once.

Saying “I told you so” is not always fun.

Comments

  1. #1 cleek
    May 10, 2009

    i grew up in Hudson Falls, and spent many summers fishing right above the HF dam. that’s about 800 yards downstream from where a giant Ciba-Geigy plant used to run, making all kinds of wonderful dyes and paints, and a couple of miles downstream from all kinds of paper mills in Glens Falls.

    this was a few hundred yards upstream from the GE plants, luckily.

    swim in that water? never mind the fact that the current there was strong enough that it would snap my fishing poles if i cast into the wrong part of the stream, it smelled like chemicals and i’d routinely catch fish covered in lesions.

    everyone in that area knows what PCBs smell like.

  2. #2 Egaeus
    May 11, 2009

    Blockquotes!

    Seriously, I couldn’t quite tell what was going on until I read the article, and read your blog post about 3 times. I didn’t know where the AP story, and your story began. I first thought Mathis was telling the story, and that Mathis had died 6 months later.

  3. #3 khan
    May 11, 2009

    I grew up swimming in the Hudson. I recall it being dredged (south of Albany) in the mid 60s.