For years, the residents of Hoosick Falls have been searching for a permanent clean water source after dealing with PFOA contamination.
Today, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released its final plan to find a permanent replacement.
Two companies, St. Gobain and Honeywell, were found responsible for the water contamination which ultimately led to a Superfund designation.
According to the Record of Decision released by DEC, two new groundwater supply wells will be developed and existing test wells south of Hoosick Falls will be converted to production wells.
Resident Jennifer Plouffe moved to the village in 2015.
“Within a couple of days of closing on my home, I find out that there is a serious and significant issue with the municipal water supply,” Plouffe told Capital Tonight.
Plouffe’s mother lives in Petersburg, where her drinking water is also contaminated with PFOA. Plouffe is skeptical about plan the DEC released today. She had hoped the DEC would site the Tomhannock Reservoir as the village’s new drinking water source.
“Additionally, this entire area and region is heavily polluted with PFAS and, I’m sure, some other chemicals. There is a history of heavy manufacturing in this area. Part of the challenge in finding an alternate water source is that every time they test it, they were running into contamination,” Plouffe said. “So, it’s very hard for me to trust that these test wells that they’re going to be turning into resources for drinking water for folks won’t become re-contaminated.”
According to the DEC’s announcement, “in addition to the implementation of the new, clean drinking water supply, DEC continues to require Honeywell and Saint-Gobain to identify and address the sources of PFOA contamination in this community.”
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos stated the multi-year effort to provide a permanent water supply is a significant milestone.
"From day one, we followed the science, addressed immediate risks and worked closely with community leaders and residents to develop a long-term plan for a sustainable water supply in the village,” Seggos said.
Today’s Record of Decision includes the following:
- Developing two new groundwater supply wells. Existing test wells south of Hoosick Falls will be converted to production wells;
- Retaining one existing village well. Redundancy is required in the case of an outage of the primary wells;
- Constructing a water transmission line from the new wells to the village water treatment plant along public rights of way;
- Continued operation of the public water supply treatment plant to remove naturally occurring elements, and ensure disinfection and distribution to meet applicable water supply requirements; and
- Retaining the existing GAC treatment system to ensure removal of ambient organic compounds.
Brian Bushner, co-chair of the Hoosick Area Community Participation Working Group is quoted in the press release as saying he’s pleased with the new water source.
“This has been a long time coming but the group is comfortable that the process was as complete as possible and the decision reflects community priorities,” Bushner said.