Mayor Sends Letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt
April 18, 2017—Mayor Robert Allen recently sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, advocating for listing as a federal Superfund Site and the creation of a Citizens Advisory Committee. Even though the Village of Hoosick Falls municipal water supply remains non-detect for PFOA and other PFCs, environmental remediation is now one of the primary focuses going forward. Federal support would be a great next step, and would be a solid addition to the work New York's Department of Environmental Conservation has already done. Click here to read the letter.
Honeywell John Street Investigation Continues
February 8, 2017—The Village has been notified by DEC, NYSDOH, and Honeywell on the next phase of the investigation of the John Street area. The on-going investigation has determined that VOCs or volatile organic compounds (other than PFOA) have been found and this merits further investigation. The plan is for Honeywell, accompanied by DEC and DOH to begin contacting residents in the John Street area to deliver a letter explaining what is being recommended. The documents are linked below for public review.
January 24, 2017—The Village Board would like to thank the public for the comments received during the January 20th meeting on the proposed agreement with SGPP and Honeywell. The Board has directed its special counsel to discuss these issues with SGPP and Honeywell. As a result, the Village Board anticipates that revisions to the agreement will be forthcoming. In the meantime, the Village Board has prepared a document to answer some of the questions and concerns raised thus far. If revisions are made to the current agreement, or if the Village Board intends to take action on the agreement, additional notice will be made to the public.
New York State Announces Hoosick Falls Full Capacity Water Filtration System is Fully Operational
Public water supply continues to be non-detect for PFOA and acceptable for all uses
New granular activated carbon system replaces interim system that has been providing clean drinking water since March 2016
Transition to full capacity system marks milestone in State's ongoing response to water contamination in Hoosick Falls area
February 7, 2017—The New York State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation today announced that the Village of Hoosick Falls' municipal water system has fully transitioned to the new full capacity granular activated carbon filtration system (GAC). The new full capacity system allows for the treatment of a higher volume of water and will ensure residents in the village continue to have access to clean drinking water.
This transition from the interim system, which was installed in March 2016, comes following six successful tests of finished water samples from the full capacity GAC. Non-detectable levels of PFOA in the Village's water supply confirms the effectiveness of the system in providing water that is acceptable for all uses. Sampling will continue to ensure the system's effectiveness as it operates independently.
The new full capacity GAC had been operating in tandem with an interim system since December 30, 2016, while sampling was conducted. The full capacity system functions like the interim system by running water through two GAC filters before entering the village distribution system. Water is sampled as it enters the system, sampled again between the first and second filters, and sampled after filtration for a comprehensive analysis. All finished water samples collected have consistently shown non-detectable levels of PFOA.
"New York State has taken unprecedented action to secure clean drinking water for residents of Hoosick Falls," said Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner of Health. "I applaud the efforts of the local officials who worked side by side with Department staff to ensure the activation of the full capacity filtration system. This major undertaking wouldn't have been possible without them."
"This is another significant step forward in our ongoing commitment to provide clean water to the residents of Hoosick Falls," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "We are continuing our work to hold the responsible parties accountable, fully identify the extent of groundwater contamination, and develop aggressive remediation plans. We are also conducting the second phase of our analysis for an alternate village water supply."
Senator Kathy Marchione said, "Today's announcement that Hoosick Falls' municipal water system has completed the transition to a new, full capacity GAC filtration system is truly welcome news for the entire community. The new GAC filtration system will ensure access to clean drinking water for Village residents and demonstrates the state's ongoing, significant commitment to helping Hoosick Falls move forward. I want to thank Governor Cuomo, and the dedicated men and women of our State DEC and DOH who have been working hard to assist the community and be responsive to local needs. Most importantly, I want to recognize the local residents who have been strong, resilient and committed to helping the community recover."
David B. Borge, Mayor of the Village of Hoosick Falls said, "On behalf of the Village of Hoosick Falls and all of the users of our municipal water system, I am very pleased that the full capacity GAC system has been approved by NYS and verified by multiple samplings to be consistently effective in reducing PFOA levels to non-detect. This is a major step forward for our community."
Mark Surdam, Supervisor Town of Hoosick said, "Our goal has always been to ensure Hoosick Falls has clean drinking water and having the Full Capacity Water Filtration System operational is a significant milestone in that effort. I want to thank all of our partners at the state and local levels not only for working tirelessly to respond to this situation, but for holding those at the source of this contamination accountable."
Following the discovery of water contamination in the Village, DOH and DEC worked collaboratively to secure clean water for the community and hold those responsible for the pollution accountable for their actions. Through these efforts, the state has secured a legally binding consent order which details the specific actions Honeywell and Saint Gobain must take to address the contamination they caused. Included in that order is the responsibility for all costs associated with the design, installation, operation, monitoring, and maintenance of both the interim and full capacity GAC systems.
As part of the consent order, the polluters were required to provide bottled water to the residents on the village water system until the full capacity GAC is operating independently. At the state's direction, Honeywell and Saint Gobain will continue to provide bottled water at Tops for the next six weeks, while two additional rounds of confirmatory sampling are conducted. Beyond this six week window, the companies will also deliver bottled water to any residents with point of entry treatment (POET) systems that have not yet been cleared for use.
In addition to the installation of the full capacity filtration system, the State's efforts in Hoosick Falls include:
- DEC secured the installation and service of more than 831 POET systems.
- DOH initiated a confidential PFOA biomonitoring program for more than 2,900 residents of the Hoosick Falls area to date and retained Mount Sinai as an independent resource for residents who wish to discuss their results.
- DOH coordinated with the Village of Hoosick Falls, Town of Hoosick, Rensselaer County and Saint Gobain to establish a bottled water program for approximately 4,500 residents of the town of Hoosick.
- DOH and DEC have implemented aggressive sampling and testing efforts in order to both understand the extent of the contamination as well as to identify a new water source for the Village. This includes extensive sampling of the Village's soil and water supply, as well as the testing of more than 1,000 private wells.
- DEC Issued an Emergency Regulation to Classify PFOA as a Hazardous Substance and classified the Saint-Gobain McCaffrey Street Facility as a Class 2 State Superfund Site which unlocks state resources to address contamination and respond to the community's immediate needs. Additionally, the Hoosick Falls landfill was identified as a potential State Superfund site during its investigation of contamination.
- DEC executed a consent order with Honeywell and Saint-Gobain which requires implementation of a superfund remedial program for the McCaffrey Street and Liberty Street plants, including a provision for an alternate water supply feasibility study, which will incorporate the field work conducted by DEC. DEC executed a separate order with Honeywell on June 3, for remedial programs at the former John Street and the three River Road plant sites. DEC is providing field oversight of these remedial programs.
- DOH and DEC have conducted more than 124 informational sessions at the HAYC3 Armory and have spoken to more than 1,600 residents in the Village of Hoosick Falls. DOH and DEC continue to staff the information sessions on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
- A State Hotline, 1-800-801-8092, has been established for the public to stay informed. To date, DOH has answered questions from more than 1,700 concerned residents from Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh.
As part of the comprehensive investigation of alternative water supply sources, DEC has conducted aquifer characterization and assessment field work, including exploratory borings, at several potential groundwater source locations. One potential alternate source has been identified. Over the next several weeks, DEC will conduct the second phase of the analysis to determine if the capacity is sufficient to provide the supply needed by the village. DEC will share the results of this analysis with the responsible parties as they complete the alternate water supply feasibility study. The alternate water feasibility study will be released for public comment once it is finalized.
Today's announcement builds on the aggressive actions implemented all across New York State to address water contamination issues. The New York State Water Quality Rapid Response Team has developed a national model to research, identify, and quickly address water contamination.
To enhance these efforts, the Governor has proposed the unprecedented $2 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017, which will provide direct support to communities to enhance and expand drinking water infrastructure and upgrade treatment systems.
Residents in the Hoosick Falls area can continue to stay informed of the ongoing remediation efforts in the area by contacting the State Hotline at: 1-800-801-8092.
Hoosick Falls Agreement With Saint-Gobain and Honeywell Available to Public
Village Board Set to Consider Its Approval at Jan. 12 Public Meeting
January 9, 2017—An $850,000 agreement Village of Hoosick Falls officials have finalized with Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International has been posted for public review on the Village website here. The Village Board will consider the agreement for approval at a special meeting on Jan. 12, to be held at the Hoosick Falls Senior Center, 69 Church Street, from 6:00 p.m to 8:00 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend and provide comments on the agreement before the Board considers it for approval.
"The Village Board's priority was to ensure residents had access to clean water at no cost, which ultimately was accomplished by the state's Consent Order with the companies. We could have stopped there. Instead, the Village Board continued to demand Saint-Gobain and Honeywell cover all the additional costs and losses the Village has incurred, to ensure local residents do not bear the brunt of a situation they didn't create. To the companies' credit, they realized the financial burden the PFOA crisis has created for our small community and agreed to this unprecedented agreement. The Board is extremely proud of what has been accomplished to protect the safety and financial well-being of our community," said Village Mayor David Borge.
Approximately 40 percent, or $337,000, of the companies' payment to the Village will be used to reimburse the Village for losses sustained from decreased water and sewer revenues, costs associated with flushing Village water piping and associated repairs to water hydrants, and increased administrative and postage costs associated with several mailings to residents, advertisements and website development. The remainder, approximately $513,000, will be used to pay the Village's team of engineering, legal and communications consultants, who have been working without payment for their services for more than a year to assure the situation is appropriately communicated to the public and all issues were addressed. Specifically, MRB Engineers will receive approximately $100,000 and FitzGerald Morris Baker Firth PC will receive approximately $410,000, of which approximately $100,000 will be paid to Behan Communications, Inc., for assistance it provided to enhance the Village's public involvement program.
"It is important to remember that in the early days of this crisis, the Village had none of the resources needed to evaluate the presence of PFOA in Village water, to negotiate with New York State and the companies to protect the interests of residents, or to communicate with the public and media to ensure residents were aware of the free bottled water program, the state's biomonitoring program, and similar activities," said Mr. Borge. "The Village had to assemble a team of experts to assist us. I am certain that without their diligent, experienced and dedicated expertise, the Village would not have been in a position to successfully negotiate the agreement we are considering for approval. I am aware of no other community dealing with an environmental crisis such as this that has successfully negotiated such a valuable agreement on behalf of its residents."
Hoosick Falls Officials Finalizing $850,000 Agreement With Saint-Gobain and Honeywell
Village Board Set to Approve Agreement at Dec. 28 Public Meeting
December 16, 2016—Village of Hoosick Falls officials, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International are in the process of finalizing an agreement whereby the Village has sought reimbursement from the companies for costs it has incurred related to the PFOA water crisis. The agreement calls for the payment of $850,000 to cover, among other items, water monitoring and analysis, flushing Village water lines and associated repairs of several hydrants, losses the Village incurred from reduced water and sewer usage, and engineering, legal and public relations consulting fees.
The reimbursement supplements prior financial commitments the Village obtained from Saint-Gobain and Honeywell to fund temporary and full capacity carbon treatment systems at the Village water treatment plant, installation of water treatment systems at several locations in the Village, and the provision of bottled water. These commitments are embodied in a Consent Order the companies signed with New York State earlier this year.
"This agreement, along with New York State's Consent Order, will ensure that Village residents are not forced to bear the financial burden of paying for the Village's response to the PFOA crisis — a situation they did not create," said Village Mayor David Borge. "This is a substantial reimbursement that will significantly replenish the Village coffers, ensure we continue to provide critical services for Village residents, and protect the Village in the future."
In addition to the reimbursement of funds, the agreement provides for a reservation of rights by the Village for future potential liabilities related to PFOA releases associated with the companies' former manufacturing facilities in the Village. PFOA contamination that may have resulted from other locations, such as the Village-owned landfill, are not covered by the new agreement.
Attorneys representing the Village Board reviewed the major provisions of the agreement with the Village Board at a meeting earlier this week. Village board members considered voting on a resolution to authorize the Mayor to sign the agreement once it was finalized, but chose to wait until the final agreement was prepared and available for public review. A special meeting of the Village Board has been tentatively scheduled for Dec. 28, should the agreement be finalized before the end of the year.
NYS DOH Announces Additional First-round Biomonitoring Dates
October 5, 2016—New York State Department of Health has offered blood testing for several months for people with concerns about exposures to PFOA from having lived or worked in the Hoosick and Petersburgh areas. They have tested more than 3000 people from both communities. They are now announcing two dates for additional blood testing. Given the small number of additional requests for blood tests received since June, these two dates will complete this round of blood testing events conducted at the Hoosick Falls Armory and Petersburgh Veterans Memorial Hall. The dates and locations are:
- Saturday, October 29: Hoosick Falls Armory: 9:00am - 1 :00pm
- Saturday, November 5: Petersburgh Veterans Memorial Hall: 9:00am - 1 :00pm
NYS DOH will be calling people to make appointments for these dates. To request an appointment, individuals can contact them by October 21, 2016. Walk-ins will be accepted but appointments are preferable. Telephone: 518-402-7950, Email: BEOE@health.ny.gov
US EPA; "Results from 34 Locations Show No Soil Cleanup Needed at Residential Properties, Football & Recreational Fields"
September 26, 2016—As part of its on-going work in Hoosick Falls, NY, in May 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sampled soil at a number of residential properties near the Saint-Gobain McCaffrey Street facility to determine if soil in the area has been impacted by past operations at the facility. Soil samples were also collected from the swampy, wooded area southeast of the McCaffrey Street facility, and the football field and picnic area at the end of Waterworks Road. Based on an assessment of data collected to date, PFOA levels found in soil do not necessitate any additional sampling or cleanup work in any of the areas sampled at this time.
EPA Proposes to Add Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Site in Hoosick Falls, N.Y. to the Federal Superfund List
Groundwater Contaminated with PFOA and Volatile Organic Compounds Public Comments due by November 8, 2016
September 9, 2016— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed adding the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics site in the Village of Hoosick Falls, N.Y. to its Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) of the country's most hazardous waste sites. Groundwater at the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility, located at 14 McCaffrey Street, is contaminated with Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Trichloroethylene. Groundwater supplying the village’s public water supply wells is contaminated with PFOA, as well as Vinyl Chloride and 1,2-Dichloroethane (1,2-DCA). The Vinyl Chloride and 1,2-DCA are both below EPA drinking water standards. PFOA does not break down easily and therefore is very persistent in the environment. Its toxicity and persistence in the environment can pose adverse effects to human health and the environment. The Village of Hoosick Falls has added carbon filtration to its public water supply, thereby providing clean water to local residents.
"The toxic contamination of ground water in Hoosick Falls, New York has put the health of residents potentially at risk and has required the village to filter its public drinking water supply," said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. "By placing this site on the federal Superfund list, the EPA will continue to work hard to address the contamination at the source, and hold the polluters accountable for the full cost of cleanup.”
The McCaffrey Street facility was built in 1961, and had been used to manufacture circuit board laminates, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)-coated fiberglass and other PTFE products. In 1999, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics purchased the facility and began operations there, using PFOA in its manufacturing process. PFOA belongs to a group of chemicals used to make household and commercial products that resist heat and chemical reactions and repel oil, stains, grease and water.
PFOA was widely used in non-stick pots and pans, stain-resistant carpets, and water-resistant outerwear. In 2006, the EPA reached a nationwide agreement with eight manufacturers to phase out the production and use of PFOA. These manufacturers stopped using PFOA in 2015.
In January 2016, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation added the Saint-Gobain site to the state’s Superfund list and nominated the site for inclusion in the federal Superfund list.
In April 2016, the EPA installed groundwater monitoring wells near the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility.
In early May 2016, the EPA conducted groundwater sampling at and around the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility.
In mid-May, the EPA conducted drinking water sampling at drinking water wells used by the Village of Hoosick Falls.
After testing in Hoosick Falls, the EPA determined that inclusion in the federal Superfund program was an effective course of action to address the contamination.
In addition to the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics site, the EPA is proposing to add 7 other sites to the National Priorities List today. The EPA typically nominates sites to the National Priorities List twice each year, in the spring and in the fall.
With the proposal of this site to the National Priorities List, a 60-day comment period will begin. During this time, the EPA will be accepting public comments, which must be received by November 8. After the comment period closes, a final National Priorities List designation will make the site eligible for funds to conduct long-term cleanup. The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanup rather than passing the costs on to taxpayers. The EPA searches for parties legally responsible for contaminating a site, and holds those parties fully accountable for cleanup costs
For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for these final and proposed sites, visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/current-npl-updates-new-proposed-npl-sites-and-new-npl-sites. With the proposal of this site to the NPL, a 60-day comment period will begin during which the EPA solicits public input regarding this action.
For instructions on how to submit comments, go to: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/public-comment-process.
Comments can be submitted, identified by Docket number by one of the following methods:
Docket number for the site: EPA-HQ-OLEM-2016-0434.
Follow the online instructions for submitting comments at http://www.regulations.gov.
Mail: Mail comments (no facsimiles or tapes) to Docket Coordinator, Headquarters; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; CERCLA Docket Office; (Mail Code 5305T); 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW; Washington, DC 20460
Hand Delivery or Express Mail: Send comments (no facsimiles or tapes) to Docket Coordinator, Headquarters; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; CERCLA Docket Office; 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW; EPA West, Room 3334, Washington, DC 20004. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of operation (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays).
For more information on the NPL Site listing process, visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm or contact Ildefonso Acosta, Region 2 NPL Coordinator, at 212-637-4344, firstname.lastname@example.org
Second NYS Hearing on Drinking Water Contamination Held
September 8, 2016—The NYS Senate Standing Committee on Health held the second of three scheduled hearings on drinking water contamination on September 07, 2016. The event was held at the Legislative Office Building in Albany. Testimony was presented by representatives of involved state agencies, local elected officials, experts in related fields, and citizens involved with and effected by the PFOA contamination in Hoosick and Petersburgh. A video of the event can be found at the New York State Senate website.
First of NYS Hearings on Drinking Water Contamination Held in Hoosick Falls
September 1, 2016—The NYS Senate held the first of three scheduled hearings on drinking water contamination on August 30, 2016. The event was held at the Hoosick Falls Central School. Testimony was presented by representatives of various state agencies, local elected officials, experts in related fields, and citizens involved with and effected by the PFOA contamination in Hoosick and Petersburgh. A video of the event, and documentation of presented testimony can be found at the New York State Senate website.
New York State Announces Consent Order Agreement in Place
June 3, 2016—The agreement orders Saint-Gobain and Honeywell companies to investigate contamination, pay for Village Water System upgrades, and reimburse New York State for costs incurred. Full details of the Consent Order can be seen in the full press release.
EPA Announces Long-term Exposure Advisories for PFOA/PFOS
May 19, 2016—Based on the latest science, EPA released drinking water health advisories to provide the most up-to-date information on the health risks of PFOA and PFOS. These advisories will help local water systems and state, tribal and local officials take the appropriate steps to address PFOA and PFOS if needed. EPA’s assessment indicates that drinking water with individual or combined concentrations of PFOA and PFOS below 70 parts per trillion is not expected to result in adverse health effects over a lifetime of exposure. These levels reflect a margin of protection, including for the most sensitive populations.
Update on EPA's Sampling Program in Areas Near McCaffrey Street Facility
May 5, 2016: This spring the EPA announced that it would be sampling soil, groundwater and storm drains at and near the Saint-Gobain McCaffrey Street facility in support of its evaluation of the facility for inclusion on the EPA’s Superfund list. That sampling is ongoing, with results expected to be included in its report evaluating whether the site qualifies for the Superfund list. The EPA also announced that sampling of some residential properties near the facility would take place.
These sampling efforts are described in more detail in Community Update #4, which was released in early April 2016 and is available online. The status of these sampling efforts are described below. The sampling work to evaluate the McCaffrey Street facility for inclusion on the Superfund list is ongoing:
- During the week of April 18th, EPA installed several groundwater monitoring wells within ½ mile of the facility.
- On April 25th, EPA began sampling soil at the McCaffrey Street facility. Sampling at 15 locations was completed on May 4th.
- On May 9th, EPA will begin sampling groundwater at the following locations:
- existing on-site groundwater monitoring wells at the McCaffrey Street facility
- off-site monitoring wells
- Waste water from the McCaffrey Street facility will also be sampled.
- Groundwater and waste water sampling is expected to be completed around May 20th.
- Sampling of public supply wells along Waterworks Road will begin after the on-site and off-site sampling of monitoring wells is completed (tentative start date May 23)
As noted in Community Update #4, all results of this investigation are expected to come back by mid-summer 2016.
In a separate effort, during the week of May 9th, EPA expects to sample soil at some residential properties along Carey Avenue near the McCaffrey Street facility, as well as the swampy area southeast of the facility and the football field and park areas at the end of Waterworks Road. This will take approximately one week to complete, and results should be available by July 2016. An update discussing the overall findings will be provided to the community.
EPA Announces Additional Soil Testing.
April 5, 2016: The EPA has announced that it will collect soil samples from approximately one dozen residential properties near the Saint-Gobain McCaffrey Street facility (on Carey Avenue between Waterworks Road and the west end of Carey Avenue) this spring. EPA will contact residents over the next few weeks to request access for the sampling. In addition, EPA will collect samples of soil, groundwater and storm drains from the McCaffrey Street facility. The results are expected several weeks after the sampling is conducted.
EPA Declares Little League and Athletic Fields Safe for Play.
April 5, 2016: Based on the results of dozens of soil samples collected at the Little League and athletic fields on Waterworks Road and Barton Avenue, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined there is no need for cleanup work in any of the areas sampled. Levels of PFOA and related compounds ranged from non-detect to 0.021 ppm, as compared with the EPA's action level for PFOA in soil of 15.6 ppm.
New York State Announces Water From Village of Hoosick Falls Municipal Water System is Safe to Drink
State Department of Health lifts advisory after repeated testing of the village’s water system shows non detection of PFOA
March 30, 2016: The New York State Department of Health today announced that repeated testing of the village of Hoosick Falls’ municipal water system shows non detection of Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and is now safe for all uses including drinking and cooking. In a letter to Mayor David Borge, Dr. Howard Zucker today informed the Village that the temporary filtration system effectively removes PFOA from the village drinking water and the “no-drink” advisory has been lifted.
There are two components to the municipal water system that DOH has been testing in recent weeks:
Component 1: Granular activated carbon filters
- The village’s temporary municipal filtration system consists of two granular activated carbon filters. Water passes through both filters before entering the village distribution system. Water is sampled after it runs through the first filter, and again after it passes through the second filter. Samples taken after strictly passing through just the first filter show non-detectable levels of PFOA.
- This non-detect PFOA status has been in place since Sunday, March 13, 2016.
Component 2: Village distribution system
- The village distribution system is split into six zones that together have more than 82 miles of piping that run to more than 1,400 customers. Since the installation of the carbon filtration system, DOH has been working with residents and the Village to flush the entire distribution system to remove PFOA and has continuously taken water samples from each zone to measure progress.
- Testing shows that every zone on the village distribution system has non-detectable levels of PFOA.
The state is working with the village of Hoosick Falls to notify residents. Residents with questions or concerns can call the Hoosick Falls water hotline at 1-800-801-8092 to speak with a DOH representative.
To view the letter from Dr. Zucker officially lifting the state’s health advisory, please click here.
Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, said: “Staff from DOH and the village have been working tirelessly in Hoosick Falls to install the filtration system and flush the entire distribution system. DOH has tested and re-tested water throughout the village, answered more than 1,000 calls on our PFOA hotline, and provided the latest news and updates to residents through our informational sessions. Today’s news demonstrates the tremendous progress we have made, and I commend Governor Cuomo for the commitment he has made to the residents, and for all the actions he has taken to resolve the contamination issue.”
Basil Seggos, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, said, "Today marks a significant milestone in the state's efforts to address the water contamination in the Hoosick Falls area. DEC continues to install and sample water filtration systems on private wells and expects to provide clearance to homeowners to use the first systems for drinking and cooking this week."
Additionally, Dr. Zucker thanked local officials for their partnership in the testing process, including David Borge, Mayor of Hoosick Falls; Mark Surdam, Town of Hoosick Supervisor; Jim Hurlburt, Water Superintendent; Josh Magisano from the Hoosick Falls Water Department; and Aelish Nealon, Executive Director of the HAYC3 Armory. Dr. Zucker also thanked all of the Hoosick Falls residents who allowed DOH to test water in their homes.
The state has implemented an aggressive plan to address PFOA contamination in the Hoosick Falls area, which includes:
- Overseeing the installation of a temporary municipal filtration system;
- Committing up to $10 million to install hundreds of private residential water filtration systems;
- Testing nearly 750 water samples from private and public wells since January 27, 2016;
- Conducting a comprehensive blood testing program for residents;
- Working to identify an alternate permanent drinking water source; and
- Establishing a local command center with nearly 100 full-time state officials.
The state has also identified Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International as parties responsible for the PFOA contamination in the village of Hoosick Falls and the town of Hoosick, and is holding the firms accountable for the costs of providing safe drinking water to residents and remediating the contamination.
Tests Indicate the GAC Filters are Effective at PFOA Removal
March 23, 2016: According to the New York State Department of Health, the new filtration system installed at the municipal water treatment plant is "functioning properly" and removing PFOA to non-detectable levels (which is defined to be less than 2 parts per trillion). Most recently, NYSDOH collected 7 samples from the new system and all resulted in non-detect levels of PFOA. Ten additional samples were collected by NYSDOH throughout the distribution system. Seven showed non-detectable levels of PFOA while three samples showed levels below 5 ppt. The sample results will be posted on the Village website when a report is received from NYSDOH. EPA's recommendation that residents refrain from using municipal water for drinking or cooking remains in effect.
Governor Cuomo Announces PFOA No Longer Detected at Hoosick Falls Municipal Water Filtration System
March 14, 2016: Governor Andrew Cuomo announced test results from the newly installed carbon filtration system at the municipal water treatment plant show that PFOA has been removed to "non-detectable levels." NYSDOH continues to test water samples throughout the Village to assess the ability of the installed carbon filters to effectively reduce PFOA. As NYSDOH continues its comprehensive sampling program, residents are advised to continue using bottled water for drinking and cooking. Governor Cuomo also announced: (1) an agreement with Saint-Gobain and Honeywell to deliver bottled water directly to residents who need assistance; (2) approval of a $150,000 grant to boost capacity of one municipal supply well that has a history of low levels of PFOA; and, (3) results of the latest water samples collected from private wells predominantly located in the Town of Hoosick.
Village Water Customers to Receive Rebate
March 14, 2016: Last week, Village officials initiated a discussion with residents at the monthly board meeting regarding provision of a credit or rebate to residents on their water bills. Village officials subsequently brought these concerns to New York State officials. As a result, Governor Cuomo announced that Hoosick Falls residents will receive a rebate covering six months of water payments, a total of approximately $240,000. New York State intends to seek reimbursement for the costs of the rebate program from Saint-Gobain and Honeywell. The process by which residents will receive their rebates are being developed now. Residents are advised to continue to use bottled water until otherwise notified.
Notice: Hot Tubs and Swimming Pools
If you have a hot tub or swimming pool that is filled with water from before the municipal system was flushed, please call the Village Clerk's office at: 518-686-7072 between the hours of 8:30am and 3:30pm. The Village is creating an inventory so that the DEC and DOH can develop a plan to address the issue.
State Issues Update on Ongoing Actions to Address PFOA Contamination at Hoosick
Receive Results for An Additional 153 Wells; 190 Water Filtration Systems Installed; Flushing Process Continues, Completed in Five of Six Zones
March 4, 2016: The State Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation announced additional water sample results as they continue to aggressively provide drinking water acceptable for all uses in the Town of Hoosick and Village of Hoosick Falls. Since February 27, DOH has received results of another 153 water samples and 190 water filtration systems have been installed. Additionally, residential flushing continues throughout the Village ahead of schedule with five zones completed with last one to start in the coming days.
DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Under the Governor's direction, all hands are on deck to bring clean drinking water to residents in the Hoosick Falls area. We made significant progress in installation of carbon filtration systems on private wells in the area and will continue to work as quickly as possible to get these systems online."
DOH Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "Flushing of the Village's water mains and distribution system continues and we are making great progress. We have moved quickly, while at the same time taken extra precautions to minimize water pressure losses at homes, and ensure that enough water is available if needed for firefighting."
Water Sampling and Installation of Water Filtration Systems
DEC continued installation of point of entry treatment (POET) filtration systems for homes with private wells with a total of 190 installed. Another 40 are scheduled to be installed this weekend. DEC has received 521 requests for POETs, with 240 requests this week, and performed 386 pre-evaluations which are necessary prior to installing the systems. Of those, 225 pre-evaluations were completed this week.
Carbon canisters are being pre-flushed at an off-site central location. Empty canisters are initially installed and replaced with pre-flushed carbon canisters. After installation of the complete system, it is checked to ensure proper connections. After the complete system is installed, homeowners must flush their pipes and are provided instructions on how to do so. After installation, DEC will sample the tap water to determine it is acceptable for all uses. Residents are advised to continue drinking bottled water and refrain from drinking and cooking with water from the public system and with POET systems at private homes until DEC or DOH advises that the water is acceptable for all uses.
DOH announced results for an additional 153 water test results received since Friday February 26, which include 146 results that were less than the EPA Advisory level of 100 part per trillion (ppt) and seven that have levels of PFOA at or above the EPA Advisory level of 100 ppt. Of the 146 under the EPA Advisory of 100 ppt, 82 have PFOA levels of less than 2 ppt (i.e. non detection of PFOA) and 64 have levels between 2 and 100 ppt. DOH has also taken an additional 196 water samples since last Saturday.
This Week's Water Results:
|Public and Private Well Sampling in Hoosick Falls||February 26 to March 4, 2016|
|Total Results Received||153|
|Total Results with levels of PFOA below 2 parts per trillion (ppt) (i.e. non-detection of PFOA)||82|
|Total Results with levels of PFOA between 2 and 50 ppt||50|
|Total Results with levels of PFOA between 50 and 100 ppt||14|
|Total Results with levels of PFOA Over 100 ppt||7|
|Public and Private Well Sampling in Hoosick Falls||February 26 to March 4, 2016|
|Total Results Below EPA Local Guidance of 100 ppt||146|
|Total Results Above EPA Local Guidance of 100 ppt||7|
Total Results to Date:
|Public and Private Well Sampling in Hoosick Falls||TOTAL SAMPLES TO DATE|
|Total Results Received||298|
|Total Results with levels of PFOA below 2 parts per trillion (ppt) (i.e. non-detection of PFOA)||123|
|Total Results with levels of PFOA between 2 and 50 ppt||105|
|Total Results with levels of PFOA between 50 and 100 ppt||21|
|Total Results with levels of PFOA Over 100 ppt||49|
Flushing Village Water Distribution System
Most of the Village's water delivery system has been successfully flushed. With the installation of the temporary water filtration system, the Village's water mains and distribution system will now be flushed with clean, filtered water, to remove residual PFOA. During the flushing process, residents may notice lower water pressure, and tap water may be cloudier than usual. These are common to the flushing process and are not cause for concern. Until the water distribution system has been flushed and retested, residents should continue to use bottled water or in-home filtration.
To take extra precautions to ensure the water distribution system is not overwhelmed, the neighborhoods served by the Village water system has been divided into six zones, and the flushing process is being conducted on a zone-by-zone basis, to ensure contaminants are removed and the water system is not overwhelmed. To date, four of the Village's six zones have been successfully flushed. Once the water mains in each zone have been flushed, residents in that zone will be provided with information on flushing out the plumbing in their homes.
DEC evaluated the potential impact flushing could have on the Hoosic River and does not anticipate any significant effects. The amount of flush water to be discharged will be greatly diluted by the flow of the river. DEC expects any increase in the PFOA level in the Hoosic River to be negligible. DEC will monitor the PFOA level in the river throughout the course of the flush discharge. The river is not used as a drinking water source.
Flushing Indoor Plumbing Systems
Flushing indoor plumbing systems can be done quickly and simply. However, it is important that residents wait until the water mains and distribution systems in their neighborhood are flushed before they flush their indoor plumbing.
Key points on flushing indoor plumbing systems:
Residents of the Village will be notified when the distribution system in their neighborhood will be flushed. Residents will receive written guidance on how to flush their plumbing and when they should do so. It will take about a half hour to flush your home.
While the flushing process is taking place, residents may notice discoloration of their water, and may also have issues with water pressure in their homes. This is not a cause for concern, and is normal for any flushing process.
Water samples will be routinely taken and monitored - before, during and after the flushing of the system and at various points in the distribution system. Bottled water will continue to be provided at no cost at Tops Friendly Market on Route 22.
In addition, it's important to note that there is no need for residents to flush outdoor spigots. If they choose to do so, they should run the water for about one minute, either onto the ground or into a small pail which can then be emptied into a sink in their home. Residents should not drain their swimming pools at this point. DOH and DEC are developing a protocol to properly drain swimming pools, which will be complete in time for the summer swimming season.
Keeping Residents Informed
NYSDOH continues to notify the Village and residents on private wells in the Town with the results of ongoing water sampling. In addition, NYSDOH will continue to communicate with residents using the following material:
Door hangers: Door hangers with general information about the flushing program and specific instructions on flushing their indoor plumbing will be distributed door-to-door to the homes of Hoosick Falls Village residents on the public water supply on the day the flushing process begins and will be posted on the NYSDOH website.
Fact Sheets: Fact sheets describing the process will also be distributed door-to-door to the homes of Hoosick Falls residents, will be available at the informational sessions at the Armory and will also be posted on the NYSDOH website.
Residents renting their home or property should consult with the landlord to discuss a flushing plan for the whole building.
To Learn More
Staff from both agencies have been holding informational sessions every Tuesday (2 p.m. to 8 p.m.),Thursday (2 p.m. to 8 p.m.), and Saturday (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), to help residents.
Additionally, the Department of Financial Services has set up a Mobile Command Center in Hoosick Falls to assist and provide information to homeowners and residents who may have been impacted by recent mortgage-related events following PFOA contamination in the local water supply. The Mobile Command Center will be set up at HAYC3 Armory located at 80 Church Street in Hoosick Falls during the regularly scheduled DOH and DEC information session on Saturday, March 5 from10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Water Flushing Update
March 2, 2016: Operators of the water treatment plant continue to flush local water mains and storage tanks by neighborhood, according to protocols approved by NYSDOH and NYSDEC. (EPA's recommendation that residents refrain from using municipal water for drinking or cooking remains in effect during flushing activities.) Flushing activities should be completed in about two weeks. Once the Village completes flushing in a neighborhood, representatives from the New York State Department of Health will distribute information to residents regarding residential flushing procedures. Residents are asked to begin flushing their household plumbing once instructed to do so by NYSDOH. The Village Board plans to discuss provision of a credit to residents' water bills for water use during residential flushing activities at the next monthly Village Board meeting.
NYSDOH Releases Latest Test Results
February 29, 2016: The New York State Department of Health announced the results of additional water samples collected at the Village water treatment plant before the Granular Activated Carbon filtration system was installed, and several private drinking water wells. The results indicate the presence of PFOA in the plant's finished water at levels up to 983 parts per trillion. Additional samples collected in the municipal water supply distribution system were detected at levels up to 1,010 parts per trillion. NYSDOH will be collecting additional samples at the water treatment plant to assess the GAC filtration system's ability to reduce PFOA to safe levels. EPA's recommendation that residents refrain from using municipal water for drinking or cooking remains in effect. NYSDOH's press release is posted here.
Hoosick Falls to Begin Flushing Water Distribution System
February 26, 2016: The Hoosick Falls Village Board has received written authorization from the New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and Health (NYSDOH) to begin flushing local water mains and hydrants. Operators of the municipal water supply intend to begin flushing activities this weekend.
“Flushing the system will allow clean treated water to flow from our water treatment plant and carbon filtration system into our municipal water distribution system. This will move any residual PFOA-contaminated water in the system to the local sanitary sewer system, where it will be discharged with other water into the Hoosic River,” Village Mayor David Borge said.
“State officials have assured the Village that PFOA levels currently in the system will be diluted and will not negatively impact the wastewater treatment plant or the Hoosic River.”
Flushing activities will proceed by neighborhood, beginning in the south part of the Village and moving north. The process could take approximately two weeks to complete. Updates will be posted on the municipal website regarding the progression of flushing activities.
Once the hydrant and water main flushing is completed, NYSDOH will ask residents to flush household pipes by running household taps for a period of time and flushing toilets. NYSDOH intends to conduct a door-to-door program to provide information to residents regarding the specific protocols residents should follow. The NYSDOH information also will be posted on the municipal website as soon as it is received.
Separately, in order to determine the ability of the temporary carbon filtration system installed at the water treatment plant to reduce PFOA to safe levels, NYSDOH will collect and analyze several samples of treated water, in addition to samples of tap water from approximately 25 households connected to the municipal water system. A schedule for this sampling program is nearing completion.
EPA’s recommendation that residents not drink or cook with water from the municipal water supply remains in effect. Free bottled water will remain available to residents at Tops Market as long as the temporary carbon filtration system is in operation.
Hoosick Falls Carbon Water Treatment System now Operational
February 25, 2016: The newly-installed carbon filtration system at the municipal water treatment plant is fully operational and Village officials have begun pumping water through the system and into the Village’s water distribution system, announced Village Mayor David Borge.
“This is a major step forward,” Borge said. “The state Department of Health informed the Village that it recommended the new facility begin operating and delivering treated water to the distribution system. As a result, water began flowing through the carbon filtration system late Tuesday.”
NYSDOH approved the system for use based on the results of bacteriological and inorganic contaminant sampling. NYSDOH has not yet sampled the treated water to determine if the carbon filtration system is effectively reducing PFOA to safe levels. A schedule for that sampling program is near completion.
“I want to caution residents that EPA’s recommendation to refrain from using the municipal water for drinking and cooking still remains in effect,” Borge said. “It will likely take another few weeks for NYSDOH to conduct a rigorous sampling program to ensure the carbon filtration system is effectively removing PFOA from the water.”
Mayor Borge thanked the operators of the Village water treatment plant for working tirelessly to get the carbon filtration system installed and operational in a very brief span of time. “Our team worked literally around the clock to install this system as quickly as possible. A project that typically takes months to complete only took a few weeks time. I thank them for their diligence and effort,” Borge said.
Village officials will begin flushing the municipal water supply to purge local water mains and hydrants of any PFOA-contaminated water residing in the pipes. Once approval for the flushing procedures is obtained by NYSDOH and NYSDEC, a schedule for flushing activities will be developed and shared with the public.
Village Sends Information to Residents re: Water System Flushing.
February 25, 2016: The Village Board is mailing postcards to municipal water supply users with information on how the Village will be flushing local water mains and storage tanks throughout the system. These activities will begin this weekend. Additional information regarding household flushing protocols will be distributed by NYSDOH.
New York State Announces Progress Regarding Water Filtration Systems in Town of Hoosick and Village of Hoosick Falls
DEC and DOH Continue to Advise Residents to Refrain From Drinking Water From Filtration Systems Until Tested and Cleared by Health Agencies.
February 25, 2016: The State Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation today announced progress to address perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) contamination the public water system in the Village of Hoosick Falls and in private wells in the Town of Hoosick.
Today, the village carbon filtration system at the municipal water treatment plant was successfully installed and the distribution system will be flushed with clean, filtered water, to remove residual PFOA. The flushing process at the municipal treatment plant is scheduled to begin as early as this weekend with residential areas to be flushed in the coming weeks. DOH and DEC will make the additional information and directions available to residents in the coming days.
In addition, DEC has begun installation of point of entry filtration systems (POET) for homes with private wells and 53 have been installed to date. After installation, DEC will sample the finished water to determine if it is safe for drinking. Residents are advised to continue drinking bottled water and refrain from drinking and cooking with water from the public system and with POET systems at private homes until DEC or DOH advises that your water is safe to drink.
To Learn More: Staff from both agencies have been holding informational sessions every Tuesday (2pm to 8pm), Thursday (2pm to 8pm), and Saturday (10am to 2pm), to help residents. More information is available by calling the Hoosick Falls water hotline at: 800-801-8092 (Monday - Friday: 9 am - 8 pm; Saturday: 9 am - 3 pm) and at the New York State Department of Health website: http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/investigations/hoosick/
EPA Announces Second Phase of Athletic Fields Soil Testing
February 22, 2016: Testing by the New York State Department of Health and the Village of Hoosick Falls, New York, has revealed that groundwater and drinking water in the Village of Hoosick Falls is contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been gathering information regarding the Hoosick Falls PFOA contamination in conjunction with the Village of Hoosick Falls, the county health department and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
Why is the EPA Sampling Additional Fields?
As part of its work to address PFOA in the Village of Hoosick Falls, the EPA sampled the ballfields and park areas along Waterworks Road from February 15 - 19, 2016. The purpose of the sampling was to determine whether past releases of PFOA into the air from local facilities may have contaminated the soil on the fields. Recently, EPA was notified by village officials that the Hoosick Falls Athletic Field near the ice rink and community pool, located approximately 1/4 mile from the Waterworks Road ballfields, may be the main field used by the Town of Hoosick Youth Baseball and Softball league this season.
EPA will evaluate the Hoosick Falls Athletic Field, which is used for athletics as well as summer camps and community events. This will include EPA collection of samples from the upper foot of soil. The samples will be analyzed for PFOA and related chemicals, as well as volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), metals and other contaminants. The sampling results will be compared to values that EPA has established to determine if cleanup work is necessary.
In Which Areas of the Athletic Field Will Soil be Sampled?
The EPA will be sampling multiple locations in and around the Hoosick Falls Athletic Field where people, especially children, are most likely to be exposed to the soil. This includes the playground next to the community pool, several locations on the ballfield and football field area, several locations which may be used as a little league field near the old backstop, areas used by summer camps and the bleachers and spectator areas. The upper foot of soil will be sampled at two intervals: the first three inches, and from three inches to a foot below the surface.
When Will the Test Results be Available?
The laboratory results are expected to come back in April 2016, along with the results from the Waterworks Road ballfield sampling. All results will be announced and will be available to the public prior to the start of the pre-season for baseball and softball. The EPA plans a public session to explain the results and answer any questions.
If hazardous substances, including PFOA or other contaminants, are present in the soil at the ball fields, the EPA will review the results and determine whether any cleanup work is necessary to protect the people who use the ballfields.
The EPA, NYSDEC and NYSDOH will be planning and conducting soil, groundwater and surface water sampling in other areas of Hoosick Falls, and will continue to provide updates on the status of the investigation. As the investigation progresses, EPA will also establish an Information Repository at a local library where the public can review and copy records related to EPA’s work in Hoosick Falls.
Governor Cuomo Deploys DFS Mobile Command Center to Help Hoosick Property Owners
Mobile Command Center to Provide Information on Insurance and Mortgage Issues to Hoosick Falls Area Residents Affected by Water Contamination
February 16, 2016: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today directed the Department of Financial Services to set up a Mobile Command Center in Hoosick Falls to assist and provide information to homeowners and residents who may have been impacted by recent mortgage-related events following PFOA contamination in the local water supply. The Mobile Command Center will be set up at HAYC3 Armory located at 80 Church Street, Hoosick Falls today, Feb. 16, and tomorrow, Feb. 17 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“My administration is continuing to deliver on-the-ground support to the people of Hoosick Falls,” said Governor Cuomo. “This will help ensure that homeowners and residents in the area can be informed and utilize all options available to them. I encourage anyone with questions to meet with trained DFS personnel this week.”
DFS staff will be available to provide information and assist homeowners and residents with questions and concerns relating to mortgage loans, or refinancing of loans. DFS staff will also be available to provide information and assist homeowners and residents with questions and concerns relating to insurance issues.
Residents of the Hoosick Falls area community are strongly encouraged to attend if they require assistance relating to mortgage loans, refinancing, or insurance issues.
Last week, Governor Cuomo announced that the state has begun planning for a possible alternate water supply in the Village of Hoosick Falls – ensuring that the community has a new, permanent supply of clean water. The Governor also announced that the state will purchase and install water filtration systems for approximately 1,500 homes in the Town of Hoosick, if a homeowner wishes to have such a system installed. Furthermore, the state is offering free water sampling tests and free blood testing. More information on all of those actions is available here.
Saint-Gobain Site Added to Registry as Significant Threat State Superfund Site
February 16, 2016: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has added the Saint-Gobain McCaffrey Street Site to the Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites within New York's State Superfund Program. The site has been added to the Registry with the Classification “2”, which signifies that the site presents a significant threat to public health and/or the environment. The public notice provides the reasons for this designation.
Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site Classification Notice
The Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site Program (the State Superfund Program) is the State's program for identifying, investigating, and cleaning up sites where the disposal of hazardous waste may present a threat to public health and/or the environment. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) maintains a list of these sites in the Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites (Registry). This notice is to inform you that the site identified above, and located on a map on the reverse side of this page, was added to the Registry as a Class 2 site that presents a significant threat to public health and/or the environment for the following reason(s):
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) has been detected at elev ated levels in groundwater at 14 McCaffrey Street in the Village of Hoosick Falls. The Village and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) have also identified PFOA at concentrations exceeding applicable standards, criteria, and guidance values in the Village's public water supply system and in several non-m unicipal wells in the Town of Hoosick. Actions are needed to reduce human exposures to PFOA in these water supplies and perhaps others, as well sampling continues. NYSDOH has also identified lower concentrations of PFOA in private wells and other public water supplies in the Town. Overall, actions are needed to identify the source(s) of this contamination, to define the nature and extent of contamination in groundwater and other environmental media, and to evaluate and address associated human exposures.
Governor Cuomo Announces Planning for an Alternate Water Supply in the Village of Hoosick Falls
Additionally, state offers to purchase and install water filtration systems for roughly 1,500 homes in the Town of Hoosick
State authorizes emergency allocation of $10 million from Superfund for these emergency actions
February 12, 2016: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the state has begun planning for a possible alternate water supply in the Village of Hoosick Falls – ensuring that the community has a new, permanent supply of clean water. This would be in addition to the long-term carbon filtration system Saint-Gobain has agreed to install. The state will work to ensure the planning is completed expeditiously in an open and transparent manner and will engage the public on how contamination is addressed and remediated throughout the Superfund process.
Potentials for the alternate water supply in the Village of Hoosick Falls include: installing new or deeper wells within the Town and Village area determined to be free of PFOA contamination; securing and treating alternative sources such as from the Hoosic River or other clean water sources in areas outside of the Town or Village. The state will also be conducting a thorough investigation to ensure the water source is free of PFOA contamination.
In addition to the free water sampling tests and free blood testing offered by the state, the Governor announced that the state will purchase and install water filtration systems for approximately 1,500 homes in the Town of Hoosick, if a homeowner wishes to have such a system installed. These particular carbon-based filtration systems have been shown to reduce PFOA levels in water to below two parts per trillion. This action is made possible by an emergency allocation of $10 million from the state Superfund. The state will later pursue total cost recovery from the parties deemed responsible for the PFOA contamination, including Saint-Gobain and Honeywell. This will be in addition to the long-term water filtration system that Saint-Gobain has agreed to install for the current water source for the Village of Hoosick Falls.
“Protecting the health of New Yorkers is paramount,” said Governor Cuomo. “My administration is taking aggressive action in Hoosick Falls because no one should have to question the safety of their water. We are working closely with our local partners, and will continue to take all necessary steps to safeguard the public health.”
To ensure the health and safety of residents in Hoosick Falls, the state Department of Health has begun offering free blood testing for community members who wish to be tested. That process will begin tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 12. At the Governor’s direction, DOH Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker and DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos will be onsite to answer questions from residents. For more information on this testing service, and to make an appointment for a blood test, residents should call (800) 801-8092, email BEOE@health.ny.gov, or visit the DOH website here.
The Village’s temporary treatment system is now installed and undergoing disinfection and testing. Once all testing is complete in the coming weeks, this system will provide drinking water for the Village until the planning is finished and permanent water system is in place.
While no PFOA has been detected in the Hoosick Falls Central School District school’s water, the state has already committed to install a water filtration system at the school as the Superintendent requested. This project should be completed within the next two weeks.
These announcements build on last month’s actions taken by the state to address contamination in the Hoosick Falls water supply. More information on those actions is available here.
Contact the Governor's Press Office
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EPA Soil Sampling at Little League Fields
February 12, 2016: Testing by the New York State Department of Health and the Village of Hoosick Falls, New York, has revealed that groundwater and drinking water in the Village of Hoosick Falls is contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been gathering information regarding the Hoosick Falls PFOA contamination in conjunction with the Village of Hoosick Falls, the county health department and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
Why is the EPA Sampling the Ballfields?
As part of its work to address PFOA in the Village of Hoosick Falls, the EPA is looking into two potential issues. The Agency will look at whether past releases of PFOA into the air from local facilities may have contaminated the soil on the village’s ballfields based on their proximity to a potential source. The EPA will also sample to determine if this area was used for disposal in the past.
To make its assessment of the ballfields, the EPA will take samples at varying depths ranging from the surface of the soil down to the water table, which is reported to be about 18 feet below the surface. The samples will be analyzed for PFOA and related chemicals, as well as for a suite of pollutants including volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and metals. The sampling results will be compared to values that EPA has established to determine if cleanup work is necessary.
In Which Areas of the Ballfields Will Soil Be Sampled?
The EPA will be sampling multiple locations in and around the ballfields where people, especially children, are most likely to be exposed to the soil. This includes seven locations on each ballfield, the dugouts, bleachers, spectator areas, batting cages and pavilion area, and the two open fields along Waterworks Road near the water treatment plant. The upper foot of soil will be sampled at two intervals: the first three inches, and from three inches to a foot below the surface. Several deeper soil samples going down to the water table will also be collected.
When Will the Results be Available?
The laboratory results are expected to come back in late March or early April 2016. The results will be announced and will be available to the public prior to the start of the pre-season for baseball and softball. The EPA plans to hold a public session to explain the results and answer any questions.
If PFOA, hazardous substances, or other contaminants are present in the soil at the ballfields, the EPA will analyze the results and determine whether any cleanup work is necessary to protect the people who use the ballfields.
The EPA, NYSDEC and NYSDOH will be planning and conducting soil, groundwater and surface water sampling in other areas of Hoosick Falls, and will continue to provide updates on the status of the investigation. As the investigation progresses, EPA will also establish an Information Repository at a local library where the public can review and copy records related to EPA’s work in Hoosick Falls.
DEC Requires Companies to Fully Investigate and Clean Up Hoosick Falls PFOA Contamination
February 11, 2016: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation sent Saint-Gobain and Honeywell International a letter identifying them as parties responsible for PFOA contamination in the Village and demanding the companies implement and pay for an investigation and remediation of the contaminated sites. NYSDEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "We will hold all companies responsible for groundwater contamination and make sure they pay all costs associated with the investigation and remediation of the source of the problem as well as assuring a usable drinking water source."
Full DEC Press Release:
DEC Requires Companies to Fully Investigate and Clean Up Hoosick Falls PFOA Contamination
DEC to Use Legal Authority Under State Superfund to Hold Companies Accountable for Remediation
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today identified Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International as parties responsible for Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) contamination in the Village of Hoosick Falls area as a result of the agency's preliminary investigation. DEC's investigation has identified groundwater contamination at the McCaffrey Street site where Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International used PFOA for decades. Using state Superfund authority, DEC will hold these and possibly other companies liable for the full investigation and cleanup of PFOA contamination.
"First and foremost, under Governor Cuomo's direction, our priority is to provide safe and clean drinking water to the people of Hoosick Falls," DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "We will hold all companies responsible for groundwater contamination and make sure they pay all costs associated with the investigation and remediation of the source of the problem as well as assuring a usable drinking water source."
DEC sent a letter to Saint-Gobain and Honeywell (PDF, 2.1 MB) demanding that these companies enter into binding consent orders to implement and finance the investigation and remediation of the contaminated sites. The demand letter is the first step in the process to develop a consent order under which these companies, and others that may be identified in the course of the investigation, would be held liable to pay for the investigation and remediation of all PFOA contamination and protection of safe, clean drinking water for Hoosick Falls. In the event Saint-Gobain, Honeywell and any other potentially responsible parties refuse to voluntarily cleanup under such an order, New York State will use its full authority under the law to pursue all available legal remedies against the companies.
This action is the latest development in DEC's investigation, which commenced four weeks ago, and stems from DEC's issuance of an emergency regulation classifying PFOA as a hazardous substance and classification of the Saint-Gobain facility as a state Superfund site. These classifications unlocked state Superfund resources to start the investigation into the sources of contamination and allow the state to pursue potentially responsible parties. Today's letter begins the process for the state to recoup any costs the state incurs, if the responsible parties refuse to pay the costs of the investigation and remediation.
Under the state Superfund law, polluters that contaminate the environment with hazardous substances can be held responsible for remediation. DEC will continue its investigation to determine the extent of contamination in order to ensure the contamination in the Hoosick Falls area is addressed and residents have a reliable source of clean and potable water.
New York State Department of Health to Have Regular Presence in Hoosick
February 1, 2016: Today the Village received notice from NYS DOH informing us that they plan to have a regular presence in the Village beginning tonight. They plan to set up information sessions at the Armory starting today from 5-8pm and they will be available to answer questions and disburse information about the water status. People will be able to ask questions concerning blood testing, water testing, etc. This is a directive from the meeting with the Governor last week. Going forward, the DOH staff will be available each week on Tuesday and Thursdays from 2:00pm to 8:00pm and on Saturdays from 10:00am to 2:00pm until further notice. They will also be working on coordinating information from the various regulatory agencies involved.
EPA Releases Statement on Town of Hoosick Wells
January 28, 2016: The EPA is developing a lifetime health advisory level for PFOA. While this work continues, the EPA recommends that people in the Town of Hoosick and the Village of Hoosick Falls who have private wells at wh ich PFOA has been found to be present at a level greater than 100 parts per trillion not us e that water for drinking or cooking, and instead take advantage of the free bottled wa ter that is being made available at the Tops Market in Hoosick Falls. In addition , the EPA recommends that people in the Town of Hoosick and the Village of Hoosick Falls who have private wells that have not yet been tested for the presence of PFOA ask the New York State Department of Health to test their well and, in the m eantime, take advantage of the bottled water available at the Tops Market in Hoosick Falls.
Governor Cuomo Announces Immediate State Action Plan to Address Contamination in Hoosick Falls
State hotline (1-800-801-8092) established to help public stay informed.
January 27, 2016: Emergency regulation issued to classify PFOA as a hazardous substance; Saint-Gobain facility to be classified as a State Superfund Site to unlock state resources and legal remedy to address contamination State will conduct Health Risk Analysis to establish PFOA drinking water guidance level; retest private wells in the village of Hoosick Falls; and immediately install filtration systems at school and other community gathering places
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a series of immediate actions by New York State to address contamination in the Village of Hoosick Falls’ water supply and at the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Site. These announcements follow today’s meeting between the Governor and senior state and local officials.
“We are taking immediate and aggressive actions to protect the health of Hoosick Falls residents,” said Governor Cuomo. “These actions will ensure that the source and extent of PFOA contamination is identified, and all necessary steps are taken to swiftly address the chemical’s presence. My administration is investigating this situation fully, and we will do whatever is necessary to ensure safe, clean drinking water for local residents.”
These actions include to:
- Issue Emergency Regulation to Classify PFOA as Hazardous Substance: The state Department of Environmental Conservation today issued an emergency regulation to classify Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), the contaminant found in the Village’s water supply, as a hazardous substance. This provides DEC with the legal authority to pursue State Superfund designation and cleanup of the site using State Superfund resources.
- Classify Saint-Gobain Facility as a State Superfund Site to Unlock State Resources to Address Contamination: Further, the state announced it will classify the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation McCaffrey Street Plant and other possible sources of contamination that may be identified in Hoosick Falls as State Superfund sites to unlock state funding resources under the State Superfund Program to address the contamination in the community. DEC has already initiated its investigation and inspected the Saint-Gobain property. If in the course of its continuing investigation DEC finds any additional sources of PFOA contamination, they will also be listed. The Superfund Class 2 designation will allow the state to use State Superfund resources to investigate and clean up PFOA contamination much more quickly than waiting for a federal Superfund designation. In addition, the state will be able to seek cost recovery for the investigation and cleanup activities. DEC will collaborate closely with EPA in the investigation of PFOA in groundwater, soil and other media in Hoosick Falls to determine appropriate cleanup activities.
- Conduct Health Risk Analysis to Establish PFOA Drinking Water Guidance Level: To address the water supply contamination, the state Department of Health will conduct a risk analysis, examining the latest national research, to establish a drinking water guidance level for PFOA.
- Retest Private Wells in the Village of Hoosick Falls: In addition, the state Department of Health will retest 24 private wells in the vicinity of the Saint-Gobain facility.
- Immediately Install Filtration Systems at School and Other Community Gathering Places: Out of an abundance of caution, the state committed to installing water filtration systems at the local school, public health facilities and other community gathering places.
- Blood Testing of Community Members to Begin in Mid-February: Beginning in mid-February, DOH will begin blood testing for community members for those who wish to be tested.
- Establish State Hotline for Public to Stay Informed: Residents can contact 1-800-801-8092 for more information.
Further, once PFOA contamination is addressed, the state committed to work with the community and banks to safeguard property values.
Department of Environmental Conservation Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said: “Under the direction of Governor Cuomo, New York State is working collaboratively with all levels of government from the EPA to the village and town, to address the contamination in Hoosick Falls. Classifying PFOA as a hazardous substance and making the Saint-Gobain site a State Superfund site will free up resources to investigate and clean up the contamination quickly. We will continue our open dialogue with local officials and the people of Hoosick Falls to ensure they are informed throughout our investigation and remediation.”
Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said: “The actions taken today by Governor Cuomo, the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health will safeguard the residents of Hoosick Falls and help address their concerns. The Department of Health will continue to test private wells, and will soon begin a blood testing program to measure residents’ exposure to PFOA. Additionally, DOH will continue to examine the latest and best scientific research to establish a drinking water guidance level for PFOA.”
Senator Kathy Marchione said: “I want to personally thank Governor Cuomo for convening this afternoon's highly productive and positive meeting regarding Hoosick Falls. The announcement that the state recognizes the seriousness of this issue and is taking purposeful action that will help Hoosick Falls families is welcome news. Our discussion today focused on realistic solutions including the state’s regulation of PFOAs, testing of all local wells, blood testing and carbon filtration systems to help protect the health and well-being of families in Hoosick Falls. The positive steps agreed to today are welcome news for the community. I have been carefully monitoring this situation and will continue advocating for Hoosick Falls families as this process moves forward.”
Town of Hoosick Supervisor Mark Surdam said: “I am thankful for the Governor’s recognition of the problem our community is facing with its water supply, and for the actions the state taking today. I want to assure all of the residents in the Town of Hoosick that we are undergoing a tremendous effort to deal with these concerns.”
Village of Hoosick Falls Mayor David Borge said: “I am grateful for Governor Cuomo’s swift action to help our community quickly restore the use of our water supply – and am pleased by the level of coordination by state agencies responding to this issue. This is a major step forward for all residents of the greater Hoosick Falls community.”
Hoosick Falls Central School Superintendent Kenneth Facin said: “Today’s meeting with Governor Cuomo was productive and meaningful, and promises real results for our students and parents. We are appreciative to be a part of a singular, concerted effort to rectify the environmental issues surrounding our water supply. As a proactive measure to ensure the health and safety of our students, the state is assisting our school district with the installment of a carbon filtration system. We are grateful for the Governor’s leadership in galvanizing resources to assist our community.”
State’s Earlier Actions to Address PFOA Contamination
Today’s actions build upon DEC and DOH’s initiatives announced earlier this month to address the PFOA contamination to protect public health and the environment. The state urged EPA to take vigorous action on the federal level to regulate PFOA and to quickly add the Hoosick Falls site to the Superfund National Priorities List. The state, Saint-Gobain and the Village are collaboratively working on an agreement to install water treatment systems to remove hazardous chemicals from the Village’s water supply. In addition, DOH is undertaking a cancer registry study to investigate the incidence of cancer among Village residents and biomonitoring studies. Further DOH is offering PFOA biomonitoring to measure the level of PFOA in Village residents.
PFOA was detected in the Village’s public drinking water in 2014. Since then, DOH has worked closely with the Village to provide technical advice and assistance for water sampling and to evaluate water treatment options to eliminate health risks. Because the levels of PFOA in public water were higher than the EPA health advisory level, DOH determined that people should reduce their exposure by avoiding the use of tap water for drinking and cooking. In addition, DOH continues to monitor private wells and will have more results very soon.
Although the use of PFOA is being phased out, it is still used to make household and commercial products that resist heat, and repel oil, stains, grease, and water. This includes nonstick cookware, surface coatings for stain-resistant carpets and fabric, and paper and cardboard food packaging. Studies of people have associated exposure to PFOA with an increased risk for several health effects. This includes associations with effects on the liver, immune system, thyroid gland, cholesterol levels, blood pressure during pregnancy, and kidney and testicular cancer.
Contact the Governor's Press Office
NYC Press Office: 212.681.4640
Albany Press Office: 518.474.8418
Contact us by email:
Temporary GAC System Delivered to Village
January 26, 2016: The Village of Hoosick Falls has taken delivery of a temporary treatment system that, when installed at the municipal water treatment plant, will effectively reduce PFOA in the municipal water supply to safe drinking levels. The costs associated with leasing, installing and maintaining the temporary system will be paid for by Saint-Gobain Performance Plastic Company.
“The Village Board has been working diligently with our engineers and the New York State Department of Health to identify a treatment system that could be obtained and installed quickly, at no cost to local residents," said Village Mayor David Borge. "We are hopeful that, once confirmatory testing of the new system demonstrates the safety of the water, EPA will inform the community that it is acceptable to use the water for household purposes."
Upon learning of the elevated levels of PFOA in the municipal supply, Village officials asked engineers from MRB Group to perform a pilot study to determine if a Granular Activated Carbon filtration system (GAC) will effectively reduce PFOA in the water to safe drinking levels. The results were very positive, leading Village officials to conduct a nation-wide search to obtain the necessary equipment. A system became available from Calgon Carbon in Pittsburgh; PA, and Village trustees authorized Mayor Borge to enter into a lease agreement for the equipment on January 7, 2016, at a cost of $300,000.
NYSDOH, which oversees operations at the municipal water supply, approved installation of the temporary system, until a permanent GAC system can be designed, approved and installed. Saint-Gobain also has agreed to fund installation and maintenance of the permanent system. contingent upon NYSDOH' s approval.
The temporary system will be constructed on a concrete pad approximately 10 feet from the existing water treatment plant. It will be installed inside a heated enclosure to protect it from the elements. Water will be piped from the municipal supply wells to the existing water treatment plant, then through the new GAC filtration system, and out to local households via the existing 12-inch water main.
New York State Announces Progress to Address Contamination at Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Site and in Village Water Supply
January 14, 2016: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) urge EPA to take steps to address water contamination and advance cleanup of the area in response to public concern, NYSDOH conducting cancer & biomonitoring study in Hoosick Falls.
Volunteer Water Distribution Group—Water Angels
January 11, 2016: Several local residents have formed a volunteer group to deliver water to the elderly, disabled, and homebound of our community that may have difficulty getting to Tops Market to pick up the alternative bottled water that has been made available. The group has grown with additional volunteers. The Village supports this community effort. Representatives of the Village board and Village Police Department have worked with the group to insure that both delivery volunteers and citizens are safe. Official IDs for the group have been created with the group logo and volunteer's names. Volunteers picking up water at Tops and delivering to residents will be wearing this identification.
To volunteer, or to request delivery, please call the Village clerk's office, or contact the Water Angel group through their Facebook page or call the coordinator, Michelle O'Leary at 518-697-9698 between the hours of 9:00am and 6:00pm.
Temporary GAC Filtering System to be Installed
January 7, 2016: The Village in cooperation with the NYSDOH, Saint-Gobain, and C.T. Male have been exploring installing a temporary short-term GAC filtering system at the municipal water plant. This system can be installed in a matter of weeks, and will remain in use while the permanent GAC filtering is being built. There is only one of the required temporary GAC systems available at this time, so the parties involved in designing and approving the system have been working diligently to insure that we did not lose this opportunity to another entity that my have a similar filtering need. The DOH has reviewed and approved the plans, and the board has voted to order the temporary GAC filter to be installed immediately. Further details will be shared as the project progresses.
Preliminary Water Plant Upgrade Schedule
December 19, 2015: As submitted to the Village by C.T. Male Associates, project engineers.
|Task Description||Completion Date|
|Basis of Design||December 15, 2015|
|45% Documents||December 31, 2015|
|Pre-final (DOH submission) Documents||January 15, 2016|
|Final Design Ready for DOH Approval & Construction||January 31, 2016|
|Bid Advertise and Award||March 1, 2016|
|Construction Contracts Signed||March 15, 2016|
|Major Equipment Submittals Completed||March 31, 2016|
|Major Equipment On-site and Installed||July 15, 2016|
|Treatment Start-up & Testing||August 30, 2016|
|Construction Complete||October 30, 2016|
- DOH review and approval process estimated at 2-4 weeks.
- System operational 8-9 months after DOH approval.
December 18, 2015: In an effort to keep residents better informed of the water situation, a letter has been drafted by the mayor that is being mailed to Village households and Town municipal water users. The letter will also include the December 17, 2015 press release by the EPA on the water situation. The press release can be read below, the cover letter can be downloaded here. Residents can expect to receive the letter and EPA statement early next week. In an effort to reach as many residents as possible, it is also being shared here and other media outlets.
The New York State Department of Health has also developed an updated PFOA Fact Sheet for the village.
EPA Statement on Hoosick Falls Water Contamination
December 17, 2015: Recently, members of the Hoosick Falls community have contacted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with concerns and questions about whether they should drink, bathe in, or cook with their water, which has been found to contain perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
PFOA is a manmade chemical that is toxic and persistent in the environment. It is used as a surface-active agent and in variety of products, such as fire-fighting foams, coating additives and cleaning products.
While the EPA continues to gather information and assess the Hoosick Falls water contamination, it recommends that people NOT drink the water from the Hoosick Falls public water supply or use it for cooking.
There is a lack of studies evaluating the human health effects from inhalation and skin exposure to PFOA. The EPA believes that inhalation of PFOA contaminated water (for example, from showering or bathing) is not a significant exposure. PFOA has a much higher boiling point (372.2°F) than water (212°F), is a solid with a very low evaporation rate at room temperature, and any inhalation of the steam-like, aerosolized, PFOA-contaminated water droplets generated while showering or bathing is not a significant exposure.
Similar to inhalation exposure, the EPA also believes that skin contact with PFOA-contaminated water from the public water supply in Hoosick Falls is not a significant exposure. Studies have demonstrated very limited absorption of PFOA through the skin, and the uptake of PFOA through the skin is extremely slow. As a precautionary measure and given the limited information on dermal exposure, children or people with skin conditions (for example, rashes, cuts and abrasions) should avoid prolonged contact (such as long showers or long baths) with PFOA-contaminated water.
The EPA is continuing to gather information and will keep the public informed. Public inquiries can be directed to Larisa Romanowski via email or call 518-407-0400.
Berry Shore, Intergovernmental Liaison
Region 2, USEPA
290 Broadway, 26th Floor
New York, NY 10007
tel.: (212) 637-3650
Municipal Water Update
December 10, 2015: On December 3rd 2015 the Village sponsored an informational session concerning the ongoing situation with the discovery of the unregulated contaminant PFOA in the wells of our municipal water system. Representatives from regulatory agencies, local government, and other involved parties were there to answer questions and distribute literature. It was reasonably well attended, and we trust that attendees became better informed. The village received a letter from the EPA prior to that meeting where the agency provided recommendations of best-practices for us to follow. Also in the letter were references to where the EPA’s information regarding PFOA can be accessed online. The New York State Department of Health also prepared a fact sheet for the session. Links to these documents are below for your convenience. We advise all concerned citizens of the Village to read this and other available literature to remain up to date on the PFOA situation.
ATTENTION Users of the Hoosick Falls Municipal Water System
As presented at the Hoosick Falls Village Board meeting on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics is providing funding for an alternative source for drinking water for those Hoosick residents connected to the Hoosick Falls Municipal Water System. Should residents choose this option, bottled water will be available at Tops Market in Hoosick Falls at no cost to residents on the municipal water system as of Sunday, November 29, 2015. Only 1 gallon and 2.5 gallon containers of select brands of water will be available at no cost (no water in redeemable bottles). A maximum of 5 gallons per day per household will be available at no cost. Sign in at the Service Desk at the Tops Market in Hoosick Falls first to receive a coupon(s) to be used at the checkout register. Tops Market in Hoosick Falls is open 7 days per week.
September 2015—This is the 3rd summary in a series of updates enclosed with the water meter readings mailed to those who are billed for the use of the municipal water supply of Hoosick Falls. Over the past months, much has been learned and a summary is as follows:
A pilot study has been completed and it has been determined that Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) is effective in reducing the amount of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) to unmeasurable levels for our specific water supply. This technology exists and is recognized as effective by Rensselaer County Department of Health and NYS Department of Health.
NYS DoH has agreed to analyze water samples on an on-going basis at no charge to the community. Additionally, samples have been taken from privately owned wells in the surrounding area to investigate the extent of the contamination to see whether the contamination is localized, or broader in scope. Again, I ask that anyone who has had water samples privately analyzed, to please provide copies of specific results to the Village Clerk’s Office. This information will be used by the County and NY State Departments of Public Health to determine the most effective long term mitigation plans for our community water supply.
The Village Board has approved an agreement with the MRB Planning/Engineering Group to provide an engineering report which will summarize the specifics of our water concerns, and which verifies that the correct steps are being taken toward a successful resolution. This report is also required by all potential funding sources – whether they are state, federal or private sources.
Several conversations with staff from the offices of Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Congressman Gibson, as well as direct discussions with Senator Marchione and Assemblyman McLaughlin regarding federal and state sources for funding have occurred. The issue remains that until the Federal EPA completes its current data gathering process regarding PFOA and makes a determination, this man-made substance remains officially an “unregulated contaminant” and therefore, rules, regulations or enforceable standards for levels in drinking water do not exist. Both the Village Water Treatment Plant and the Waste Water Plant continue to meet and exceed all county, state and federal regulations. We are in compliance in all areas.
Discussions have also taken place with the regional representative from the Governor’s Office. There will be more communications as we continue to move forward.
To date, our efforts have been focused on finding a practical and feasible way to minimize and or eliminate PFOA from our water supply. The addition of a secondary filtration system using GAC technology is the route we will pursue. Efforts are being made to secure funding at all levels. There is a regulated process with specific time frames to follow and the Village Board has directed MRB to initiate that process.
At the regular July meeting of the Village Board, representatives from Saint- Gobain presented their plans to support the collaborative efforts of our community in working toward a successful resolution. We consider this a positive step. They have retained C. T. Male Engineering to do a hydrogeologic study of the McCaffery Street property. The results of this study will be shared with the community as we move forward. We hope to have the results from this effort by the Fall of 2015.
Since October of 2014 to the present, the financial cost to the Village has been in excess of $63,000. The estimated cost to add the secondary GAC filtration system is approximately $2,200,000 for initial construction not including routine maintenance. Although the Village is financially solvent, other funding sources will be required to meet this need.
Rest assured that the Village Board is working diligently to resolve this issue and is committed to restoring the public’s confidence in our municipal water supply. Your patience is appreciated, we share your concern, and you will continue to be updated as to the progress made. Suggestions or comments can be forwarded to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or messages left at 686-7072 ext. 5.
NYSDOH Risk Characterization and Health Effects for Hoosick Falls Water Supply
The Village has requested guidance from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) in analyzing our water contamination and its potential impact on public health. We received their response via the Rensselaer County Department of Health on January 12th 2015. It states:
The presence of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) at the levels detected in the supply wells and in finished water does not constitute an immediate health hazard. Based on specific toxicity information for PFOA, the estimated exposure to PFOA in the water at the highest level detected (0.54 µg/L) is at least 50,000 times lower than PFOA exposures that are known to cause health effects in animals. The detection of PFOA indicates a need to identify the sources of contamination and to take measures to reduce it so that long-term exposure can be reduced and future exposures prevented.
Samples taken from the water supply wells on October 2 and November 4, 2014 were found to contain PFOA at levels ranging from 0.17 micrograms per liter (µg/L) to 0.54 µg/L. One sample of finished (treated) water taken on November 4th contained PFOA at 0.44 µg/L. These levels are below the New York State unspecified organic contaminant public drinking water standard of 50 µg/L, which applies to certain types of organic chemicals such as PFOA, which do not have a standard based on their toxicity.
Information on the health effects of PFOA in humans is limited. There is evidence from studies in people that elevated levels of PFOA in serum can lead to reduced fetal growth. There is also some evidence from studies in humans that increased serum PFOA levels may increase the risk for testicular and kidney cancer, but collectively the studies are not strong enough to draw a definitive conclusion about whether PFOA causes cancer in humans. In laboratory animals, exposure to high levels of PFOA caused weight loss, increased liver weights, developmental delays, reduced red blood cells, and reduced fetal growth. PFOA caused cancer in laboratory animals that were fed large amounts for their lifetimes. Chemicals that cause adverse health effects in animals after high levels of exposure may pose a risk to humans exposed to lower levels over long periods of time.
PFOA is a manufactured chemical that is used to make other chemicals called fluoropolymers. Fluoropolymers are substances that have special properties such as fire resistance and the ability to repel oil, grease and water. Thus, they have many manufacturing and industrial applications. PFOA is used to make non-stick surfaces on cookware and in fire-fighting foams, cosmetics, greases, lubricants, paints, polishes, and adhesives. PFOA can get into drinking water through releases from fluoropolymer manufacturing or processing facilities, wastewater treatment plants, and landfills.
Village Water Quality Update
As stated at the November and December Village Board meetings, the Village municipal water system continues to meet and exceed all County, State and Federal standards for public health safety. If that was not the case, the Rensselaer County Public Health Department would intervene immediately.
At the request of a residential water user, the Village water department sent pre-treated samples taken from each of the 3 wells for non-required chemical testing. This initial sample revealed what appears to be a synthetic element present in the pre-treated well water. This was considered a base-line sample and a 2nd sample has since been taken— including a post-treated sample. The results of the initial test are mixed—but also encouraging—as the results verify that in 2 of the 3 wells, the numbers fall within and under the EPA guidelines of 200-400 nanograms (or parts per trillion) for the element perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The primary well currently being used samples at less than 200 nanograms or ppt. Samples—both post and pre-treated— will continue to be taken as the Village monitors the situation.
Neither the County DOH, the State DOH, nor the Federal EPA has set minimum standards for exposure to this element. The EPA is in the data collection phase only.* Since the EPA has not established allowable standards, it does not require such testing of municipal water systems. As mentioned, the element is called PFOA, and is present in many forms of plastic, certain types of clothing, surface coatings, food packaging, and has been found in soils and ground water globally.
Communications continue directly with the County Public Health Department and their direction will be followed. There have also been communications with the engineers who designed and installed the Village Water Treatment Plant. Consultations have been initiated regarding the filtration system as carbon filters are known to be effective in screening out this element. The current filters are state-of-the-art poly filters which include carbon filtration. We will be monitoring their effectiveness for this chemical.
This is very much a process of discovery and elimination and the plan is to proceed in an orderly and regulated manner. Sample analysis results are available at the Village Clerk's Office. Village residents should be aware that the numbers in each sample represent parts per trillion and the EPA guidelines are based on parts per billion. As yet, there is no standard or benchmark to determine how these numbers are to be interpreted for their impact on public health.*
Obviously, it is un-nerving when the public water supply is questioned. Understandably, there is some misinformation and some valid concerned speculation "on the street". The Village is following the regulations and oversight provided by the County, State and Federal authorities and will continue to provide safe drinking water and keep the community informed.
* In a letter to the Village dated 11/25/2015, the EPA has disputed this wording and asked that it be removed. In accordance with full-disclosure, the statement will remain, but the public should be aware that EPA has established a provisional health advisory for PFOA at 400 parts per trillion [per liter of water].
The EPA has also posted these Internet links regarding its provisional health advisory and the significance of that advisory. This information can be found at the links below: