For Release: Thursday, February 11, 2016
DEC Requires Companies to Fully Investigate and Clean Up Hoosick Falls PFOA Contamination
DEC to Use Legal Authority Under State Superfund to Hold Companies Accountable for Remediation
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today identified Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International as parties responsible for Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) contamination in the Village of Hoosick Falls area as a result of the agency's preliminary investigation. DEC's investigation has identified groundwater contamination at the McCaffrey Street site where Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International used PFOA for decades. Using state Superfund authority, DEC will hold these and possibly other companies liable for the full investigation and cleanup of PFOA contamination.
"First and foremost, under Governor Cuomo's direction, our priority is to provide safe and clean drinking water to the people of Hoosick Falls," DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "We will hold all companies responsible for groundwater contamination and make sure they pay all costs associated with the investigation and remediation of the source of the problem as well as assuring a usable drinking water source."
DEC sent a letter to Saint-Gobain and Honeywell (PDF, 2.1 MB) demanding that these companies enter into binding consent orders to implement and finance the investigation and remediation of the contaminated sites. The demand letter is the first step in the process to develop a consent order under which these companies, and others that may be identified in the course of the investigation, would be held liable to pay for the investigation and remediation of all PFOA contamination and protection of safe, clean drinking water for Hoosick Falls. In the event Saint-Gobain, Honeywell and any other potentially responsible parties refuse to voluntarily cleanup under such an order, New York State will use its full authority under the law to pursue all available legal remedies against the companies.
This action is the latest development in DEC's investigation, which commenced four weeks ago, and stems from DEC's issuance of an emergency regulation classifying PFOA as a hazardous substance and classification of the Saint-Gobain facility as a state Superfund site. These classifications unlocked state Superfund resources to start the investigation into the sources of contamination and allow the state to pursue potentially responsible parties. Today's letter begins the process for the state to recoup any costs the state incurs, if the responsible parties refuse to pay the costs of the investigation and remediation.
Under the state Superfund law, polluters that contaminate the environment with hazardous substances can be held responsible for remediation. DEC will continue its investigation to determine the extent of contamination in order to ensure the contamination in the Hoosick Falls area is addressed and residents have a reliable source of clean and potable water.