Work plans approved for Hoosick Falls, N.Y. PFOA investigation


HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. >> The state has approved work plans, which will determine if hazardous waste was improperly disposed at two former manufacturing sites, from one of the companies being held responsible for PFOA contamination.

Work plans submitted by Honeywell International for the former Oak Materials sites on Lyman/John Street and River Road (Route 22) will be placed in local document repositories for public viewing, a spokesperson with the state Department of Environmental Conservation said on Friday.

A similar plan by Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics for the company's Liberty Street property is expected to be made available by Tuesday, the spokesperson said.

"At DEC's urging, both companies agreed to accelerate the start of field work, which began earlier this week, and follow-up with the final work plans," the spokesperson said in a statement.

Both companies were required to submit the Site Characterization Work Plans under consent orders they signed last month. The plans are the agency's "first investigation of a site where hazardous waste has or may have been disposed of illegally or improperly," according to the DEC website. The plans will be placed in document repositories at the village library and the Armory.

"Additional public outreach will be conducted in the near future to explain the work plans," the spokesperson said.

The John Street, Liberty Street and River Road locations are Class P (potential) hazardous waste sites. Further information is needed before they qualify for the state Superfund registry, according to the DEC website.

Saint-Gobain's factory at 14 McCaffrey Street is on the state's Superfund registry as a Class 2 site, which means disposal of waste has been confirmed and "represents a significant threat to public health or the environment," according to DEC. State officials have asked that site to be added to the federal Superfund program.

DEC says it will oversee the site work, which is being led by the companies. Technicians for Honeywell have already collected soil and water from sites on John Street and River Road. Some work has already begun at Saint-Gobain's Liberty Street plant.

Technicians will also sample soil and water at adjacent property including nearby homes. Residents will be notified in advance of that work and a public meeting will be held before the work starts.

PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, turned up in public and private drinking supplies in the town of Hoosick and Hoosick Falls. It was used by industries for decades when manufacturing the nonstick coating Teflon. It's been linked to testicular and kidney cancer, and other diseases like high cholesterol and colitis.

Tests on soil and water suggest there are multiple sources contributing to PFOA contamination in the village and the town of Hoosick, DEC Regional Director Keith Goertz wrote in a July 22 letter to Village Mayor David Borge and Hoosick Town Supervisor Mark Surdam.

Potential sources include those already reported, like current and former manufacturing sites and the closed village landfill on Walnut Street. The man-made chemical and suspected carcinogen could also be coming from illegal disposal sites, Goertz wrote.

"DEC will continue to investigate both suspected illegal disposal sites and the closed municipal landfill," he wrote.

The DEC intends to soon launch a dedicated website devoted to its efforts in the town and village, according to the letter.

Goertz wrote the agency encourages residents to come forward with any information they have about alleged illegal disposal activities by contacting the DEC at 518-402-9676.

Contact Ed Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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