PFAS | WAMC

PFAS

The Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility on McCaffrey Street in Hoosick Falls
Lucas Willard / WAMC

Three companies blamed for the pollution of water supplies in and around the Rensselaer County village of Hoosick Falls have agreed to pay $62 million to settle a federal lawsuit. The deal, first reported by the Times Union, still needs court approval. It would provide money and medical monitoring for thousands of property owners and residents, according to the newspaper. 

The Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility on McCaffrey Street in Hoosick Falls
Lucas Willard / WAMC

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is taking comments through today on a proposed remedial action for the Rensselaer County Village of Hoosick Falls. It comes more than five years after a do-not-drink order was declared over PFAS contamination in the community’s drinking water.

Alyssa Arcaya, acting chief of Drinking Water and Municipal in the infrastructure branch of the EPA.
Screenshot by Jackie Orchard / WAMC

The Rockland County legislature and a representative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held a virtual panel Wednesday amid concerns over the level of PFAS contamination in the county’s drinking water.

The Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility on McCaffrey Street in Hoosick Falls
Lucas Willard / WAMC

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has identified new permanent water sources for the Village of Hoosick Falls. 

Two House Reps Introduce PFAS Action Act, Again

Apr 14, 2021
wikimedia commons/de:Benutzer:Alex Anlicker

Two members of Congress from Michigan re-introduced bipartisan legislation Tuesday to set national drinking water standards for two PFAS chemicals. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne says New Yorkers are watching closely.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand speaks with Hoosick Falls residents
Lucas Willard / WAMC

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand hosted a roundtable discussion with community leaders and advocates Monday in Hoosick Falls where she provided details on new legislation intended to address PFAS contamination and require medical monitoring for those affected by pollution. 

Top: the road to Norlite  Bottom: the road along Saratoga Sites
Jackie Orchard / WAMC

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation held a marathon public information session Wednesday night focused on issues related to the incineration of hazardous materials at the Norlite facility in Cohoes.

The Saratoga Sites public housing neighborhood in Cohoes.
Jackie Orchard / WAMC

Activists are challenging a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation report that finds no clear connection between the Norlite plant in Cohoes and PFAS contamination of the area.

Environmental activist Joe Ritchie was born and raised in what he calls “the shadow of the Norlite plant” in the Saratoga Sites public housing neighborhood in Cohoes
Jackie Orchard / WAMC

Capital Region residents are suing the Norlite facility in Cohoes and its parent company, alleging hazardous dust is settling in their neighborhoods.

Three schools in the Hudson Valley have “Do Not Drink” advisories after two PFAS chemicals were found above New York state’s contamination limits. These are among the first schools with the higher levels since the state adopted new maximum contaminant levels for PFOA and PFOS over the summer.

Photo of a faucet
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

      The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection awarded $3 million this week to 17 public water systems to help address PFAS contamination.

Jackie Orchard / WAMC

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says in a 450-page report that there is no clear connection between the Norlite plant in Cohoes and PFAS contamination of the area.

water droplet
USDA/Wikimedia Commons - Public Domain

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and New York Congressman Mondaire Jones are calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help get to the bottom of PFAS contamination in Rockland County’s drinking water. This comes after PFOA in drinking water exceeded the state’s new limits.

Vermont state lawmakers are introducing for the third time a bill designed to require polluters to pay for medical monitoring expenses for residents affected by toxic contamination.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announces PFAS Firefirefighter Protection Act at Newburgh Fire Department, Feb. 22, 2021
WAMC, Allison Dunne

New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney were in Newburgh Monday announcing legislation to protect firefighters from PFAS.

Cohoes residents were joined by activists and advocates on a Thursday morning Zoom meeting.
Zoom Screenshot

Already under intense scrutiny from environmental advocates and local elected officials, the Norlite plant in Cohoes is facing new clean air violations from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. But environmentalists are also taking aim at the DEC.

At Westchester County Airport, from left to right: County Legislator Nancy Barr; Westchester County Executive George Latimer; Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins; Harrison Supervisor/Mayor Ron Belmont
Courtesy of the Office of Westchester County Executive George Latimer

In a terminal at the Westchester County Airport in White Plains Wednesday, County Executive George Latimer announced upgrades to noise monitors and stormwater treatment. Surrounding communities have complained about noise from flight paths and the airport for years. The county has been addressing PFAS contamination as well.

Hudson Valley Brief Year In Review, Minus COVID

Dec 31, 2020
Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, NY
WAMC, Allison Dunne

Though the COVID-19 pandemic dominated the airwaves most of the year, there were some other significant developments in 2020. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne highlights a few of them in an abbreviated year in review.

Slide presented during Environmental Working Group press briefing on PFAS and COVID, December 17, 2020
Courtesy of the Environmental Working Group

Scientists and toxicology experts say PFAS chemicals known to affect the immune system could impact the efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine. While the link has not yet been cemented, they are concerned that communities with high exposures to PFAS may be more vulnerable during the pandemic.

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

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill banning the burning of aqueous film forming foam containing PFAS chemicals in cities designated Environmental Justice areas. The new law is tailored specifically for Cohoes.

Stewart Air National Guard base entrance
WAMC, Allison Dunne

New York U.S. Senator Charles Schumer is calling on the Air Force to prioritize PFAS cleanup at Stewart Air National Guard base in Orange County.

New York state Thursday adopted maximum contaminant levels for three chemicals in drinking water. Environmental and community advocates wanted to see lower levels adopted, and more PFAS chemicals included, but say it’s a good start. One of the limits is a national first.

Several Enviro Bills Await NY Gov's Signature

Jul 27, 2020
AP Photo

The New York state legislature recently passed a number of environmental bills that await Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature. Among them is a fracking-related bill that would be a first in the nation.

Zoom

Most of the focus has been on COVID-19, but advocates held a virtual meeting today to bring attention to another aspect of public health: protecting New York’s drinking water.

Alcove Reservoir Dam
Albany Water Dept.

Albany's municipal water system made it through the worst of the pandemic without a hiccup.

Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler, Assemblymember John McDonald
Jackie Orchard/WAMC

A bill banning the burning of AFFF firefighting foam has passed both the New York State Assembly and Senate. The legislation was crafted specifically for Cohoes, as the prohibition would only impact cities with populations between 16,000 and 17,000 people.

A vote in New York on whether to adopt recommended maximum contaminant levels in drinking water for three chemicals has been postponed a second time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, clean water advocates say they are disappointed with another delay.

William Keeler
William Keeler

Concerns remain over environmental pollution from burning toxic materials at the Norlite site in Cohoes.

Dr. David Bond speaking during a Zoom video conference.
Zoom

The mayor of Cohoes is siding with environmental activists who are recommending immediately stopping the burning of PFAS at a local plant.

In New York, as a result of the COVID-19 response, a meeting at which recommended maximum contaminant levels for three chemicals were to come up for a vote has been postponed.

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