© 2024
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Glenville ramps up efforts to seek damages from PFAS contamination

Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle
Lucas Willard
Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle

The town of Glenville is looking to secure settlement funds after PFAS chemicals appeared in tests of the water supply.

In September the town board voted to retain a law firm to ensure Glenville gets its fair share of settlement funds from a class action lawsuit against manufacturers of PFAS chemicals including DuPont and 3M.

Republican Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle says Glenville routinely tests its drinking water, and even a relatively small amount of PFAS is too much for his liking. “Like most municipalities Glenville has always tested for some level of PFAS in its water supply," Koetzle said. "And it's always been well under DEC limits for concern, which is 10 parts per trillion. Our testing is usually around two parts per trillion. So we're well below that. But you know, at the same time, we'd like to be at zero. And we are now pursuing the settlement from DuPont and 3M that was made in a class action suit of about $13.5 billion for municipalities to try to do everything they can to safeguard the residents from any exposure to PFAS.”

 In June 3M issued a statement saying it has "entered into a broad class resolution to support PFAS remediation for public water suppliers." DuPont also issued a statement that says in part "we believe this complaint is without merit."

PFAS chemicals, an ingredient in firefighting foam, have been linked to several ill-health effects including cancer. Koetzle has his suspicions as to how they may have gotten into the water.

"We have an airport, we have an Air National Guard Base. Those seem logical thoughts. But again, we have no data or evidence and we're not purporting at all that they are responsible. But you know, those are the places that they would normally come from, we had a Navy depot and our Business and Technology Park for many years. They vacated many, many years ago. But potentially that might be a site. So there's a few culprits that probably are responsible. But in the end, it's the manufacturer 3M and DuPont who have settled this in court," Koetzle said.

 Koetzle says he is troubled by the fact that PFAS are "forever chemicals" that don't break down in water or in the environment.

Bill Myer, spokesman for the Air National Guard on PFAS related issues, says a remedial investigation is underway in Glenville. "When we start these investigations, you know, everyone assumes that, you know, it's the Air National Guard that's responsible, because they use AFFF. But what a lot of folks don't know is there's other private industries out there that use the materials that contain PFAS, and not necessarily, you know, related to firefighting. Although, you know, there's commercial aircraft hangars that use the same material that the DoD uses in the Air Guard. So, I’ll give you a couple of examples of other sources of PFAS that might be out there. There's anything to do with, like waterproofing and that, like in boots, you know, some boot manufacturers have PFAS. There's the automotive industry. There's all kinds of different sources of where PFAS material, you know, can be introduced into the environment,” said Myer.

Meantime Koetzle says the town will continue routine quarterly testing of its wells. Town residents are sent an annual water quality report. He says Glenville should have a filtration system in place by about this time next year. “We're hearing about $1.2 million for a filtration system. We already have $5.5 million planned in upgrades over the next five years. So that will bring everything to about $6.7, let's say $7 million in upgrades but of that $1.2 million would be the filtration system,” Koetzle said.

Koetzle says his administration is working with a law firm in efforts to secure a share of settlement money, and notes 25% of any funds recovered would go to that firm. He expects a claim will be paid "sometime in early 2024."


Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
Related Content