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Cuomo Announces Plan For Alternate Water Supply In Hoosick Falls

Lucas Willard
The structures currently owned by Saint-Gobain on McCaffery Street in Hoosick Falls. High concentrations of PFOA were found at the site.

New York State has begun planning for a possible alternate water supply for the Village of Hoosick Falls where residents have been instructed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to not drink or cook with contaminated drinking water.

Residents have been struggling to get by with water tainted with the PFOA, a believed-to-be cancer causing chemical. This week the state Department of Environmental Conservation claimed companies Saint-Gobain and Honeywell were responsible for the pollution. PFOA was found in high concentrations at the facilities used by the companies on McCaffery Street.

Governor Cuomo announced the plan Friday evening that would consider multiple options toward a new water supply including the installation of new wells within the Village and Town of Hoosick, and securing and treating contaminant-free water from the Hoosic River or other sources.

The state is also offering to purchase and install water filtration systems for 1,500 homes in the Town of Hoosick. The emergency measures would be covered by a $10 million allocation from the state Superfund program.

In a statement, the Governor said “protecting the health of New Yorkers is paramount." The Democrat said "no one should have to question the safety of their water."

The governor's announcement came hours after students at Hoosick Falls High School organized an emergency press conference to call on state authorities to provide local residents with a new water supply.

Senior Class Historian Anna Wysocki told the crowd on Friday, "We want to take a shower without worrying about how soon we should get out. We want to be able to wash off and eat off our dishes free from the threat of cancer. We want our parents to live long and healthy lives, and we want the options to one day come back, raising our own kids in our hometown."

Village mayor David Borge called the governor's actions "a sign of true leadership. He also thanked students for bringing the issue to the "everyone's attention" on Friday.

Meanwhile, Saint-Gobain is footing the bill for a temporary filtration system for the village water supply. A permanent filtration system is scheduled to be installed this fall.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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