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DEC Finds No Link Between Norlite And PFAS Contamination In Cohoes

The Norlite facility in Cohoes, NY.
Jackie Orchard
The Norlite facility in Cohoes, NY.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says its study of soil and water surrounding the Norlite facility in Cohoes found no clear pattern of aerial contamination that could be traced to the plant. DEC conducted the sampling after it was revealed the plant was burning PFAS-laden firefighting foam for the U.S. Defense Department. The agency says it found low-level amounts of PFAS compounds in all soil samples collected upwind, downwind and at background locations consistent with research on the prevalence of such contaminants in the environment. The DEC and state health department say the concentrations do not pose a human health risk.


“These findings confirm that our state of the art technology is protective of our community and the environment, and we hope these conclusions are reassuring to our neighbors,” said Jeff Beswick, CEO of Tradebe USA, the parent company of Norlite in a statement. “These findings are consistent with numerous studies that confirm the effectiveness of our processes and of our emissions control technology, and again affirm the science that combustion is a safe, environmentally responsible method of destroying certain wastes. We are committed to continuous improvement in all facets of our business and to the wellbeing of our workforce and our community, and welcome the DEC’s findings.”


"There is a lot to digest in the DEC’s 450-page Norlite Environmental Sampling Report," Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler said in a statement. "It is an important step in the long-term process of getting the community the answers they deserve about the potential health and environmental impacts of hazardous waste incineration at Norlite. I want to thank Commissioner Basil Seggos and his team at the DEC for their efforts on behalf of the Cohoes community. Thank you also to the Cohoes residents, outside experts, advocates, and others who have committed their time and energy to this important issue."

In November, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to ban PFAS burning at the plant, which is located near the Saratoga Sites public housing project in the Albany County city.

Jim is WAMC’s Assistant News Director and hosts WAMC's flagship news programs: Midday Magazine, Northeast Report and Northeast Report Late Edition. Email: jlevulis@wamc.org
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