A water filtration system in Hoosick Falls offers a temporary fix to help remove a potentially harmful chemical in the water supply. Tanja Rekhi reports.
HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. -- Week after week, neighbors in Hoosick Falls have been packing their cars with gallons of fresh water. Village leaders have advised residents not to drink, cook with or bathe in the water for extended periods of time, after amounts higher than the acceptable level of Perfluorooctanoic Acid or PFOA's were found in the groundwater.
"We can't use our dishwasher anymore. We have to hand wash dishes, so that way we can wipe the dishes with a towel when we're done,” said Kaila Schnoop, resident. “When we shower, we have a dehumidifier that we keep in the bathroom just to get it out of the air and we leave our window open.
According the Environmental Protection Agency, studies show people who drank PFOA contaminated water for about a year have showed elevated levels of certain cancers, thyroid disease and problems with pregnancy.
"They're doing blood testing to see if the PFOA’s are in your blood, but at this point I just think ignorance is bliss,” said Schnoop.
"I have a granddaughter who is 8 and it really concerns me,” said lifetime Hoosick Falls Resident Rocky O’Dell. “I also have a grandson who is three years old. It's really not good.”
State agencies are looking into where the man-made chemical, found in non-stick pans and fire-fighting foam, is coming from and how long it's been in the water. Forty times the acceptable amount were found in the ground water at St. Gobain.
"Whether they're responsible for the initial or not, they own the land that it's on,” said O’Dell. "You buy the problems."
The company is paying for neighbors to pick up 5 gallons of water a day at tops markets. They are also funding a temporary filtration system which will be in operation in February. A permanent fix will then be developed based on testing of the temporary filter. It will cost millions of dollars.
"Now people can see that something is being done and it's a big step. I'm very pleased,” said Mayor David Borge.
The temporary filter should reduce PFOA to well below acceptable levels; good news to neighbors who fear it may be too late.
"Having to pick up water and still having to pay for my water probably does not make me very happy right now,” said O’Dell.
“I'm very excited that we'll have clean water and not only that but we'll be putting clean water back into the environment,” said Schnoop.