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EPA Adds Hoosick Falls Site To Superfund's National Priorities List

Lucas Willard

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics site in Hoosick Falls, NY to the Superfund program’s National Priorities List. According to the agency, EPA adds sites to the NLP list when mismanagement of contamination threatens human health and the environment. 

NPL sites are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term permanent cleanup.

Rob Allen, the mayor of the Village of Hoosick Falls, issued the following statement Monday.

"We are very grateful to have today's designation, and are glad to have EPA join the work already done by New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation on behalf of the community of Hoosick Falls, NY. EPA will bring additional resources and experience so that the situation in Hoosick Falls can be fully investigated and fully remediated. PFOA, as well as PFOS and all the PFCs, create a very difficult situation for communities affected, as it bioaccumulates in the body, it doesn't biodegrade, and its toxicity has led to several of these chemicals being linked to very serious health concerns, including cancer. These chemicals are being discovered in more and more drinking water sources across the nation. I hope that our investigation and remediation can lead to a greater awareness of the dangers of these chemicals. Our experience points out the need for stronger regulations so that other communities can avoid the problems that we have experienced."

Saint-Gobain's Director of Branding and Communication, Dina Pokedoff, released the following statement Monday.

“We learned today through an announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the USEPA has added the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics McCaffrey Street facility in Hoosick Falls to the Superfund program’s National Priorities List,” Pokedoff said. “As we have said since we first learned of the presence of PFOA in Hoosick Falls, our top priority has been -- and continues to be -- providing potable water to residents, which was memorialized in the joint Consent Order signed in May 2016 by Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell. We did not wait to investigate the sources of PFOA– we have taken a leadership position in this effort to provide potable water and continue to do so to this day. This includes providing and funding the bottled water program, the granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration systems on the Village of Hoosick Falls municipal water supply and the installation of the point-of-entry treatment systems (POETs). To that end, the long-term GAC filtration system for the municipal supply has been in operation since February of 2017 and the New York State Health Commissioner deemed Hoosick Falls’ drinking water amongst ‘the cleanest in the entire nation.’ For those Village residents not on the municipal water supply, the point-of-entry treatment systems (POETs) that have been installed work in the same way as the GAC on the municipal supply and effectively remove PFOA from the water. We have also been supplying bottled water to the residents of Hoosick Falls for nearly two years – and we instituted that program seven months before we signed our consent order with the state. As the largest employer in the Village, we take this responsibility to community seriously and will continue to fully and transparently cooperate with the local, state and federal authorities in investigating the sources of PFOA and in providing potable drinking water to residents.”

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, released the following statement Monday morning.

“Hoosick Falls residents need all hands on deck -- and especially the EPA's Superfund status -- to hold accountable Saint-Gobain who created this PFOA mess and force them to clean up the pollution. I am glad that EPA has heeded our call to add this site to the Superfund list, because it gives the EPA leverage to make the polluters pay and to set a protocol for investigation and clean-up. I will continue to watch this situation like a hawk and will continue to remain in very close contact with the local officials to make sure the feds are meeting their deadlines." 

The chemical PFOA has been found in drinking water supplies in Hoosick Falls and nearby Petersbrugh, NY and Bennington, VT.

The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health released the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) addition of the McCaffery Street plant site to the National Priorities List.

“We welcome the federal government’s addition of this site to the Federal Superfund Program, which we requested in January 2016. We will work in partnership with the EPA, as New York State continues to hold Saint Gobain and Honeywell accountable for cleaning up their contamination and providing an alternative water source to the community.”

Jim is WAMC’s Associate 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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