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For Release: Friday, February 26, 2016

DEC and DOH Meet with Local Officials on Actions to Address PFOA Contamination at Hoosick

Dozens of Water Filtration Systems Installed and Tests Ongoing to Ensure Water is Acceptable for All Uses

Flushing to Start this Weekend and Progress Made on Alternate Water Supply Investigation

The State Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation today announced several actions to address and remove PFOA from drinking water in Hoosick Falls. Additionally, the state has identified the first potential water sources to be assessed and the state is working with the Village of Hoosick Falls to flush the water system with clean, filtered water to remove residual PFOA.

"Governor Cuomo has taken decisive action to support the people of Hoosick Falls," said NYS Health Commissioner, Dr. Howard Zucker. "By planning for a possible alternate water supply, and providing free water sampling tests, blood screening, and home water filtration systems for affected residents, the Governor has shown he is committed to a long-term solution to the contamination."

"The state is making significant progress on multiple fronts to bring safe drinking water to the Hoosick Falls area," DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "Working under the direction of Governor Cuomo, DEC is moving as swiftly as possible to install filtration systems on private wells and to complete the testing to ensure the water is safe to drink. In addition, DEC will begin testing aquifers and other potential sources as we move forward with our study for an alternate water supply."

Water Sampling and Installation of Water Filtration Systems

DEC has begun installation of point of entry treatment (POET) filtration systems for homes with private wells and 53 have been installed to date with 52 scheduled to be installed this weekend. DEC has received 281 requests for POETs and performed 161 pre-evaluations which are necessary prior to installing the systems. After installation, DEC will sample the finished water to determine it is acceptable for all uses. Residents are advised to continue drinking bottled water and refrain from drinking and cooking with water from the public system and with POET systems at private homes until DEC or DOH advises that the water is acceptable for all uses.

DOH announced results for 145 water tests to date. 103 results were less than the EPA Advisory level of 100 ppt and 42 results have levels of PFOA above the EPA Advisory level of 100 ppt. Of the 103 under the EPA Advisory of 100 ppt, 41 have PFOA levels of less than 2 parts per trillion (ppt)(i.e. non detection of PFOA) and 62 have levels between 2 and 100 ppt.

Public and Private Well Sampling in Hoosick Falls January 27 to February 25
Total Results Received 145
Total Results with levels of PFOA below 2 parts per trillion (ppt) (i.e. non-detection of PFOA) 41
Total Results with levels of PFOA between 2 and 100 ppt 62
Total Results with levels of PFOA Over 100 ppt 42
Public and Private Well Sampling in Hoosick Falls January 27 to February 25
Total Results Below EPA Local Guidance of 100 ppt 103
Total Results Above EPA Local Guidance of 100 ppt 42

DEC has established a staging area in the Town of Hoosick on Route 7 by the intersection with Route 22.

Progress on Alternate Water Source Study & Blood Monitoring

DEC has made significant progress in its efforts to identify alternate drinking water sources, including groundwater, surface water and treatment techniques. As part of the comprehensive investigation of alternative sources, DEC has identified the first phase of potential groundwater locations. DEC will work with landowners to secure access and then drilling and testing will begin immediately.

As part of DOH's blood monitoring program, DOH has collected 436 samples to be analyzed for PFOA levels. Results will be communicated with each individual as results are known.

Flushing of Village Water Distribution System to Begin in Phases

The flushing of the Village water system is more extensive than is routinely done as part of treatment plant maintenance. With the successful installation of the temporary water filtration system, the Village's water mains and distribution system will now be flushed with clean, filtered water, to remove residual PFOA. The process is scheduled to begin this weekend. During the flushing process, residents may notice lower water pressure, and tap water may be cloudier than usual. These are common to the flushing process and are not cause for concern. Until the water distribution system has been flushed and retested, residents should continue to use bottled water or in-home filtration.

To take extra precautions to ensure the water distribution system is not overwhelmed, the neighborhoods served by the Village water system have been assigned zones, and the flushing process will be conducted on a zone-by-zone basis, to ensure contaminants are removed and the water system is not overwhelmed. Once the water mains in each zone have been flushed, residents in that zone will be provided with information on flushing out the plumbing in their homes.

DEC evaluated the potential impact flushing could have on the Hoosic River and does not anticipate any significant effects. The amount of flush water to be discharged will be greatly diluted by the flow of the river. DEC expects any increase in the PFOA level in the Hoosic River to be negligible. DEC will monitor the PFOA level in the river throughout the course of the flush discharge. The river is not used as a drinking water source.

Flushing Indoor Plumbing Systems

Flushing indoor plumbing systems can be done quickly and simply. However, it is important that residents wait until the water mains and distribution systems in their neighborhood are flushed before they flush their indoor plumbing.

Key points on flushing indoor plumbing systems:

  • Residents of the Village will be notified when the distribution system in their neighborhood will be flushed. Residents will receive written guidance on how to flush their plumbing and when they should do so. It will take about a half hour to flush your home.
  • While the flushing process is taking place, residents may notice discoloration of their water, and may also have issues with water pressure in their homes. This is not a cause for concern, and is normal for any flushing process.
  • Water samples will be routinely taken and monitored - before, during and after the flushing of the system and at various points in the distribution system.
  • Bottled water will continue to be provided at no cost at Tops Friendly Market on Route 22.

In addition, it's important to note that there is no need for residents to flush outdoor spigots. If they choose to do so, they should run the water for about one minute, either onto the ground or into a small pail which can then be emptied into a sink in their home. Residents should not drain their swimming pools at this point. DOH and DEC are developing a protocol to properly drain swimming pools, which will be complete in time for the summer swimming season.

Keeping Residents Informed

NYSDOH continues to notify the Village and residents on private wells in the Town with the results of ongoing water sampling. In addition, NYSDOH will continue to communicate with residents using the following material:

  • Door hangers: Door hangers with general information about the flushing program and specific instructions on flushing their indoor plumbing will be distributed door-to-door to the homes of Hoosick Falls Village residents on the public water supply on the day the flushing process begins and will be posted on the NYSDOH website.
  • Fact Sheets: Fact sheets describing the process will also be distributed door-to-door to the homes of Hoosick Falls residents, will be available at the informational sessions at the Armory and will also be posted on the NYSDOH website.

Residents renting their home or property should consult with the landlord to discuss a flushing plan for the whole building.

Town of Petersburgh Update

DEC is in negotiations with Taconic Plastics to get the company to agree to pay for the installation of point of entry filtration systems for private wells in the Town of Petersburgh. DEC is conducting tests to determine the extent of contamination in the Town and to develop the appropriate actions to take to address the contamination.

To Learn More

Staff from both agencies have been holding informational sessions every Tuesday (2 p.m. to 8 p.m.), Thursday (2 p.m. to 8 p.m.), and Saturday (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.), to help residents.

Additionally, the Department of Financial Services has set up a Mobile Command Center in Hoosick Falls to assist and provide information to homeowners and residents who may have been impacted by recent mortgage-related events following PFOA contamination in the local water supply. The Mobile Command Center will be set up at HAYC3 Armory located at 80 Church Street in Hoosick Falls during the regularly scheduled DOH and DEC information sessions on Tuesday, March 1 from 2-8 p.m., Thursday, March 3 from 2-8 p.m. and Saturday, March 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

More information is available by calling the Hoosick Falls water hotline at: 800-801-8092 FREE (Monday - Friday: 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.; Saturday: 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.) and at the New York State Department of Health website (link leaves DEC website.)

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