For Release: Tuesday, February 7, 2017
New York State Announces Hoosick Falls Full Capacity Water Filtration System is Fully Operational
Public water supply continues to be non-detect for PFOA and acceptable for all uses
New granular activated carbon system replaces interim system that has been providing clean drinking water since March 2016
Transition to full capacity system marks milestone in State's ongoing response to water contamination in Hoosick Falls area
The New York State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation today announced that the Village of Hoosick Falls' municipal water system has fully transitioned to the new full capacity granular activated carbon filtration system (GAC). The new full capacity system allows for the treatment of a higher volume of water and will ensure residents in the village continue to have access to clean drinking water.
This transition from the interim system, which was installed in March 2016, comes following six successful tests of finished water samples from the full capacity GAC. Non-detectable levels of PFOA in the Village's water supply confirms the effectiveness of the system in providing water that is acceptable for all uses. Sampling will continue to ensure the system's effectiveness as it operates independently.
The new full capacity GAC had been operating in tandem with an interim system since December 30, 2016, while sampling was conducted. The full capacity system functions like the interim system by running water through two GAC filters before entering the village distribution system. Water is sampled as it enters the system, sampled again between the first and second filters, and sampled after filtration for a comprehensive analysis. All finished water samples collected have consistently shown non-detectable levels of PFOA.
"New York State has taken unprecedented action to secure clean drinking water for residents of Hoosick Falls," said Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner of Health. "I applaud the efforts of the local officials who worked side by side with Department staff to ensure the activation of the full capacity filtration system. This major undertaking wouldn't have been possible without them."
"This is another significant step forward in our ongoing commitment to provide clean water to the residents of Hoosick Falls," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "We are continuing our work to hold the responsible parties accountable, fully identify the extent of groundwater contamination, and develop aggressive remediation plans. We are also conducting the second phase of our analysis for an alternate village water supply."
Senator Kathy Marchione said, "Today's announcement that Hoosick Falls' municipal water system has completed the transition to a new, full capacity GAC filtration system is truly welcome news for the entire community. The new GAC filtration system will ensure access to clean drinking water for Village residents and demonstrates the state's ongoing, significant commitment to helping Hoosick Falls move forward. I want to thank Governor Cuomo, and the dedicated men and women of our State DEC and DOH who have been working hard to assist the community and be responsive to local needs. Most importantly, I want to recognize the local residents who have been strong, resilient and committed to helping the community recover."
David B. Borge, Mayor of the Village of Hoosick Falls said, "On behalf of the Village of Hoosick Falls and all of the users of our municipal water system, I am very pleased that the full capacity GAC system has been approved by NYS and verified by multiple samplings to be consistently effective in reducing PFOA levels to non-detect. This is a major step forward for our community."
Mark Surdam, Supervisor Town of Hoosick said, "Our goal has always been to ensure Hoosick Falls has clean drinking water and having the Full Capacity Water Filtration System operational is a significant milestone in that effort. I want to thank all of our partners at the state and local levels not only for working tirelessly to respond to this situation, but for holding those at the source of this contamination accountable."
Following the discovery of water contamination in the Village, DOH and DEC worked collaboratively to secure clean water for the community and hold those responsible for the pollution accountable for their actions. Through these efforts, the state has secured a legally binding consent order which details the specific actions Honeywell and Saint Gobain must take to address the contamination they caused. Included in that order is the responsibility for all costs associated with the design, installation, operation, monitoring, and maintenance of both the interim and full capacity GAC systems.
As part of the consent order, the polluters were required to provide bottled water to the residents on the village water system until the full capacity GAC is operating independently. At the state's direction, Honeywell and Saint Gobain will continue to provide bottled water at Tops for the next six weeks, while two additional rounds of confirmatory sampling are conducted. Beyond this six week window, the companies will also deliver bottled water to any residents with point of entry treatment (POET) systems that have not yet been cleared for use.
In addition to the installation of the full capacity filtration system, the State's efforts in Hoosick Falls include:
- DEC secured the installation and service of more than 831 POET systems.
- DOH initiated a confidential PFOA biomonitoring program for more than 2,900 residents of the Hoosick Falls area to date and retained Mount Sinai as an independent resource for residents who wish to discuss their results.
- DOH coordinated with the Village of Hoosick Falls, Town of Hoosick, Rensselaer County and Saint Gobain to establish a bottled water program for approximately 4,500 residents of the town of Hoosick.
- DOH and DEC have implemented aggressive sampling and testing efforts in order to both understand the extent of the contamination as well as to identify a new water source for the Village. This includes extensive sampling of the Village's soil and water supply, as well as the testing of more than 1,000 private wells.
- DEC Issued an Emergency Regulation to Classify PFOA as a Hazardous Substance and classified the Saint-Gobain McCaffrey Street Facility as a Class 2 State Superfund Site which unlocks state resources to address contamination and respond to the community's immediate needs. Additionally, the Hoosick Falls landfill was identified as a potential State Superfund site during its investigation of contamination.
- DEC executed a consent order with Honeywell and Saint-Gobain which requires implementation of a superfund remedial program for the McCaffrey Street and Liberty Street plants, including a provision for an alternate water supply feasibility study, which will incorporate the field work conducted by DEC. DEC executed a separate order with Honeywell on June 3, for remedial programs at the former John Street and the three River Road plant sites. DEC is providing field oversight of these remedial programs.
- DOH and DEC have conducted more than 124 informational sessions at the HAYC3 Armory and have spoken to more than 1,600 residents in the Village of Hoosick Falls. DOH and DEC continue to staff the information sessions on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
- A State Hotline, 1-800-801-8092, has been established for the public to stay informed. To date, DOH has answered questions from more than 1,700 concerned residents from Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh.
As part of the comprehensive investigation of alternative water supply sources, DEC has conducted aquifer characterization and assessment field work, including exploratory borings, at several potential groundwater source locations. One potential alternate source has been identified. Over the next several weeks, DEC will conduct the second phase of the analysis to determine if the capacity is sufficient to provide the supply needed by the village. DEC will share the results of this analysis with the responsible parties as they complete the alternate water supply feasibility study. The alternate water feasibility study will be released for public comment once it is finalized.
Today's announcement builds on the aggressive actions implemented all across New York State to address water contamination issues. The New York State Water Quality Rapid Response Team has developed a national model to research, identify, and quickly address water contamination.
To enhance these efforts, the Governor has proposed the unprecedented $2 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017, which will provide direct support to communities to enhance and expand drinking water infrastructure and upgrade treatment systems.
Residents in the Hoosick Falls area can continue to stay informed of the ongoing remediation efforts in the area by contacting the State Hotline at: 1-800-801-8092.