New England Field Office
Conserving the Nature of New England



Environmental Contaminants

GE/Housatonic River

The Housatonic River flows through western Massachusetts and Connecticut and empties into Long Island Sound. The General Electric Company facility in Pittsfield, Massachusetts released contaminants, particularly polychlorinated biphenyls (“PCBs”), into the Housatonic River environment from 1932 through 1977.

The PCBs contaminated the river’s water, sediment, riverbanks, and floodplain, as well as various species of fish and wildlife. In October 2000, the Natural Resource Trustees reached a settlement with GE for various specific restoration activities as well as for approximately $15 million for additional restoration projects.

These funds have been divided between the state of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and two Trustee SubCouncils have been formed to facilitate restoration planning. The Natural Resource Trustees working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on this case include the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the State of Connecticut.

image Housatonic River photo



Last updated: September 16, 2009