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Petersburgh

Information for Communities Impacted by Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs)

DEC staff person sampling Little Hoosic River
DEC staff person sampling Little Hoosic River

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was detected in the Town of Petersburgh's public drinking water supply and private drinking water wells within the town above the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion (ppt). The contamination was traced to the Taconic Plastics facility, which used PFOA in its manufacturing process.

Initial Response

To address the PFOA in the public water supply under the direction of the Rensselaer County Department of Health (RCDH), in consultation with NYS Department of Health (DOH), Taconic Plastics initially provided bottled water to residents served by the public water supply. RCDH also began sampling private wells in the area and Taconic Plastics extended the bottle water supply to impacted residents. Taconic Plastics was then directed to provide treatment for the public water supply as well.

In December 2016, RCDH and DOH, in consultation with DEC, completed engineering review and approval for the installation of a granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration system for the public water supply. This GAC system has been installed and became operational in January 2017, and DOH, in consultation with DEC and RCDH:

  • has sampled the GAC filter and several points in the distribution system to ensure that the GAC performs as designed;
  • has provided oversight of the distribution system flushing process to remove residual PFCs from the town's water mains;
  • residents were provided with instructions on how to flush their household water once the water main flushing was completed; and
  • on May 2, 2017, based on samples collected from the water distribution system, NYSDOH cleared the GAC treatment system as being fully operational.

In response to the RCDH-identified PFOA impacts in a number of private wells near the Taconic Plastics facility early in 2016, RCDH also initiated the installation of point-of-entry-treatment (POET) systems for the impacted wells, a service Taconic Plastics subsequently assumed from RCDH. Starting in the summer of 2016, DEC has provided sampling of private wells and POET installation in areas of Petersburgh where Taconic Plastics has refused to assume responsibility.

What's Being Done

Based on these findings, DEC and DOH listed the Taconic Plastics facility as a class 2 inactive hazardous waste disposal (State Superfund) site and then negotiated a consent order (PDF) requiring Taconic Plastics to:

  • pay for additional POET systems for private wells in the Town of Petersburgh;
  • install and pay for the operation and maintenance of a granular activated carbon (GAC) treatment system for the town's water treatment facility;
  • continue to pay for bottled water for town residents until successful installation of the GAC treatment system on the town facility and/or private well POET systems;
  • implement a remedial program for the Taconic Plastics site, starting with on-site and off-site investigations to determine the full nature and extent of contamination;
  • negotiate with the town and Rensselaer County to reimburse their incurred and future response costs; and
  • reimburse the state for costs incurred in its response and investigation.

In addition, DEC conducted surface water sampling of the Little Hoosic River and several tributaries, groundwater and leachate sampling at the Petersburgh/Berlin landfill, and surface soil sampling at private properties in Petersburgh to help identify impacts of PFOA. As a result of the landfill sampling, DEC has commenced an investigation of the landfill as a potential State Superfund site to determine if this site is a source of PFOA contamination that poses a significant threat to public health or the environment.

Remedial Program

Environmental Sampling

DEC has conducted environmental sampling of soils, groundwater, surface water, and sediment in Petersburgh in order to determine if these environmental media have been impacted by PFCs.

How to Get Your Drinking Water Tested

DEC staff sampling private well
DEC staff sampling private well

If you are within the Town of Petersburg and wish to have your well sampled:

  • Contact the DEC Call Center (24/7) at 1-888-459-8667.

Bottled Water

Taconic Plastics has been supplying bottled water to residents who use the municipal water supply until the new municipal treatment system was cleared for use by the DOH. The system was cleared by DOH on May 2, 2017 and the distribution of bottled water by Taconic to those who use the municipal water supply was stopped on May 13, 2017.

Taconic will continue providing bottled water for residences and businesses in the town using private drinking water wells where there is a request for sampling until such wells have been sampled, and, if a POET system is requested, it has been installed and cleared.

Point of Entry Treatment System (POETS)

As of the end of April, 2017, 133 POET systems have been installed in Petersburgh. Taconic Plastics has installed 85 POET systems within the Area of Interest (AOI), as defined under the consent order, and DEC has installed and maintains 48 systems in the Town of Petersburgh for treatment of residential and commercial water supplies.

Contact Information

  • For DEC-installed POET system maintenance and repair call: 1-888-459-8667 (24/7)
  • For Taconic Plastics-installed POET system maintenance and repair call: 1-800-626-3306
  • For other additional information call the State's Water Quality Hotline at: 1-800-801-8092
  • Rensselaer County Department of Health: 518-270-2655
  • For health related topics, including biomonitoring, go to the DOH website.

Additional Information

Fish Advisory

DEC and DOH have determined that fish caught in Thayers Pond show elevated levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate acid (PFOS) in collected samples. DOH recommends that anglers practice "catch and release" only from Thayers Pond until further notice.

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