DOH responds to the Hoosick Falls report card on PFOA

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DEC/DOH Statement: New York State has taken unprecedented action and spared no expense to secure clean drinking water for Hoosick Falls. The Village of Hoosick Falls public water supply has been free of PFOA since installation of a temporary water treatment system early this year and the permanent treatment system in on track for completion by the end of December. The state has installed nearly one thousand state-of-the-art Point of Entry Treatment (POET) filtration systems on private wells at homes, businesses, and schools throughout the area. In addition, the state has conducted an extensive biomonitoring program to help thousands of residents better understand their exposure to PFOA, as well as working with local healthcare providers for follow up care. As we continue our efforts in Hoosick Falls, we will do everything in our power to hold corporate polluters responsible for the industrial pollution impacting Hoosick Falls. Through the work of the Governor’s Water Quality Rapid Response Team, the state will continue to address drinking water contamination across the state, and to call upon the U.S. EPA to implement uniform, nationwide regulations for PFOA and other unregulated contaminants.

Additional Information:

• DEC is conducting a feasibility study of potential alternative water supply sources to serve the Village of Hoosick Falls, and is preparing to have a large-diameter production well installed in order to conduct a 72-hour pump test.

• New York State feels strongly that as the standard-bearer for health equity among states, the federal government must prioritize and implement uniform, nationwide regulations of PFOA and similar, currently unregulated contaminants to protect all Americans.

• We will continue to move forward with addressing the pollution that threatens our water systems under the umbrella of Governor Cuomo’s statewide Water Quality Rapid Response Team.

• DOH is now offering blood sampling in Newburgh as part of its swift response to PFOS contamination there.

Actions to date in Hoosick Falls:

• DOH collected more than 250 public water supply samples to ensure public supply remains non-detect for PFOA—sampling is ongoing.

• DOH tested more than 1,000 private wells throughout the Town, including small public water systems such as the schools and restaurants on their own supplies. DOH also evaluated point of use and point of entry systems installed by owners, provided sample analysis to the village and conducted extensive sampling of the village water supply.

• DOH initiated a confidential PFOA biomonitoring program for more than 2,900 residents of the Hoosick Falls area to date. This program is measuring PFOA levels in the blood of residents in the Hoosick Falls area to provide information about exposures.

• DOH identified and retained Mount Sinai as an independent resource for residents who wish to discuss their biomonitoring 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 worked with the Hoosick Falls Village, Town, County to design, pilot, review and approve the installation of a temporary filtration system for the public water supply that brought PFOA levels to non-detect early this year. This involved a complex process of assessing the finished water, flushing the public water system, and evaluating PFOA levels throughout the distribution system before declaring the water acceptable for all uses.

• Additionally, the parties worked to design, review and approve a permanent, “full capacity” system that is being installed and is slated to be operational in December of this year.

• In addition to the full capacity GAC filter, DOH and DEC continue to search from an alternative water source for the Village of Hoosick Falls.

• DOH and DEC coordinated to identify, install and test “point of entry (POET)” systems on private well systems in the affected areas; nearly 1,000 POETs have been installed in the Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh area and are maintained by DEC.

• State Hotline for Public to Stay Informed: Residents can contact 1-800-801-8092 for more information. To date, DOH has answered questions from more than 1,700 concerned residents from Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh.

• DOH and DEC have conducted more than 124 informational sessions and have spoken to more than 1,600 residents at the HAYC3 Armory in the Village of Hoosick Falls every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday to answer residents’ questions, address their concerns and allow them to sign up for well testing and for the DOH biomonitoring program. DOH and DEC continue to staff the information sessions on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

• DOH and DEC have attended many of the village board meetings and also multiple public forums with over 700 attendees broadcast on local stations and on YouTube.

• DEC designated the Hoosick Falls landfill as a potential State Superfund site during its investigation of contamination.

• DEC classified the Saint-Gobain McCaffrey Street Facility as a Class 2 State Superfund Site on January 29, to unlock state resources to address contamination and respond to the community’s immediate needs.

• DEC conducted surface water sampling on four occasions between February and September to evaluate PFOA levels in the Hoosick River. These sampling events combined encompass the Hoosick River from Petersburgh to Buskirk, and included certain tributaries to help understand the nature and extent of the problem.

• DEC collected 13 surface soil samples at 10 properties, 13 garden soils at 11 properties, two stockpile soil samples at one location, eight surface water samples at six properties, and six pool water samples at six properties on April 18 and 19, and analyzed them for PFOA and PFOS. The results were provided to the property owners. All soil levels were well below the soil cleanup objectives developed by DOH which would apply to residential property and gardens.

• DEC collected four water samples on May 25, at the Hoosick Falls wastewater treatment plant to understand current influent and effluent conditions.

• DEC Issued an Emergency Regulation to Classify PFOA as Hazardous Substance on January 27, 2016. This provides DEC with the legal authority to pursue State Superfund designation and cleanup of the site using State Superfund resources.

• DEC executed a consent order with Honeywell and Saint-Gobain on June 3, 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 the ongoing remedial investigations being conducted by responsible parties (Saint-Gobain and Honeywell) in accordance with work plans that were approved by DEC for the McCaffrey Street, Liberty Street, John Street, and River Road sites, which include sampling of soils, groundwater, surface water, and sediments. This field work is expected to extend into early 2017.

• DEC initiated a Superfund field investigation of the Hoosick Falls Landfill in November in order to determine if this site is a source of the PFOA contamination or other pollutants that may require remedial action.

• DEC sampled fish from the Hoosic River in October 2016. (Analytical results will not be available for several months.)

• DEC and DOH hosted a public meeting on August 4, in Hoosick Falls to describe the status of ongoing work/initiatives and to answer questions. DEC attends the bi-monthly meetings at the High School sponsored by the Superintendent of Schools in order to provide updates on DEC actions related to the PFOA contamination and foster education and collaboration relative to environmental cleanup and response.