HOOSICK FALLS, NY >> Various outreach efforts are underway to spread information about the water contamination issue.
And while environmental and health officials investigate how a man-made chemical made its way into the water supply, they also call for testing private wells and residents' blood for perflurooctanoic acid (PFOA).
Residents are being encouraged to go informational sessions held three times a week at the HAYC3 Armory at 80 Church St. Officials with the state Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will answer questions and take contact information for those who want their well water tested or take part in a health study.
The next three sessions are on Tuesday, Feb. 16, and Thursday, Feb. 18, from 2 to 8 p.m., and again on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A "biomonitoring" study will give insight into peoples' exposure to PFOA, according to the DOH. People who want to participate will sign a consent form and complete a questionnaire about their potential exposure. A blood test will compare how PFOA levels in their bodies compare to people living elsewhere.
Tests will be done at the Armory by appointment only. To set up an appointment, call the state DOH at 518-402-7950.
Private well testing
The EPA says scientists are trying to find how much PFOA people can be exposed to until it causes negative health effects. (Many believe the current "health advisory level" of 400 ppt is too high.)
The EPA recommends town and village residents with private wells have their water tested by the state DOH. If a well hasn't been tested yet or if PFOA levels are found to be over 100 ppt, the federal agency advises residents not drink or cook with the water.
The DOH says it is testing wells in phases, working outward from areas already known to be contaminated. For well testing information, contact the DOH Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation at 518-402-7860 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free bottled water is available at the village Tops Friendly Market, 21501 Route 22, for those without access to potable water. The water is being funded by Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, which along with Honeywell International was identified by the state last week as one party "potentially responsible" for the contamination.
Local volunteer group Water Angels is delivering water to people who need assistance, including those who are elderly, homebound or have transportation issues. To learn more, call organizer Michelle O'Leary at 518-697-9698 between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. or visit Water Angels on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/hoosickfallswaterdistributionvolunteers
The state-run Hoosick Falls Water Information Hotline: Call 800-801-8092, Mondays to Fridays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. or Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The village website has a section dedicated to the water issue and includes a timeline of events, public documents and updates for residents: www.villageofhoosickfalls.com/Water/default.html
The NYSDOH offers information related to the biomonitoring study, private well testing and more contact information here: www.health.ny.gov/environmental/investigations/hoosick
The EPA's website has a section dedicated to the water issue and includes facts on PFOA and more: www.epa.gov/aboutepa/hoosick-falls-water-contamination