Residuals / Capping / Backfilling

Goal of the Standard

The residual standard is designed to detect and manage small amounts of contaminated sediments that may remain on the river bottom after dredging.

How the Standard Works

  • Identification of “Certification Units” of approximately 5 acres in size (see Phase 1 and 2 Certification Units Map Series, at left).
  • Collection of sediment cores from within a Certification Unit after dredging and analysis of sediment for PCB concentrations.

Possible Actions

  • Lower concentrations might call for backfilling, where appropriate.
  • Higher concentrations would call for actions such as redredging or constructing a cap.


Due to certain physical constraints in the river (e.g., bedrock, clay and shoreline stability considerations), concern for cultural resources, and other limitations on the ability to dredge near critical structures (e.g., bridges), some areas will require a cap to isolate the PCBs that remain after dredging occurs. Areas where it is not practical to continue dredging or areas which are physically restricted from dredging are not considered as Counted Areas.

Counted Areas are areas where dredging has occurred but capping is still required due to (1) high residuals after dredging or (2) areas where "inventory" still remains. "Inventory" is considered to be significant PCB contamination below the top six inches of sediment after two dredging passes.

The sixth and final season of dredging has been completed. Backfilling of previously dredged areas with clean material extended into November 2015.

 Table 1 below shows the capping limits and actual capping percentages for the 2014 dredging season. 

Table 1
Certification units in which capping decision has been made Areas Dredged (CUs):

9-16, 19-100

Counted Areas capped to date Limit: 11.0% Actual: 7.77%
Counted Areas with "Inventory" capped to date Limit: 3.0 % Actual: 0.50%
Last Updated: September 29, 2015 - dredging complete.


The nodal capping index is used as the metric for determining compliance with the capping criteria of the residuals standard as stated above. This index provides more details than Table 1. View a summary of the nodal capping index and more detail on capping limits for Phase 2 Year 4.


Dredging computer software
This computer image is what dredge operators see and what allows them to identify where to dig. The depth and locations are determined by satellites. The computer software being used is specific to the Hudson River dredging project.