New York Considers Tougher Water Quality Standards

The twelve-member Drinking Water Quality Council held its first meeting today to consider establishing maximum contaminant levels for toxic chemicals in New York State water.

Some say that this rule-making is necessary because of a lack of continuity in the system of federal water quality regulation.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has requested that the council consider setting the maximum contaminant levels for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), as well as perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and 1,4-Dioxane.

Brad Hutton, the deputy commissioner of public health for the New York State Department of Health, stated that the council has been given the responsibility on advising the DOH commissioner on what unregulated contaminants should be tested throughout the state.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency monitors several unregulated contaminants every five years, according to the Safe Drinking Water Act’s guidelines. This leaves gaps in the federal system’s approach of ensuring water quality.

“They have been moving too slow of a pace,” stated Hutton, stressing the state’s need of establishing its own maximum contaminant levels.

Read the full article here.


New Water Quality Council Established and Ready to Address PFOA

Twelve members of a new state Drinking Water Quality Council have been named, preparing the group to hold its first official meeting on October 2nd.

Governor Andrew Cuomo named his four designated council members on Friday. He also announced that the first task of the council will be to recommend maximum contaminant levels for PFOA, among other harmful chemicals.

The council is obligated to return its list of recommended maximum contaminant levels by October 2nd, 2018. The list would then be updated if needed on an annual basis.

“New York is once again stepping up as the federal government continues to ignore its duty to provide clear guidance to protect drinking water quality… Water quality is a national issue that requires consistent national standards, but New York can no longer afford to wait,” stated Governor Cuomo.

Members of the Drinking Water Quality Council include state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker and his designee Deputy Commissioner Brad Hutton, as well as state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos with his designee Executive Deputy Commissioner Ken Lynch.

Four of the council’s members were recommended by New York State Senate and Assembly leaders, while the other four were designated by Governor Cuomo.

Read the full article here.


State Report Showing No Elevations of Cancer in Hoosick Falls Criticized for Narrow Scope

The New York State Department of Health recently released a Cancer Incidence Investigation report that found no significant elevations of cancer for any of the cancer types associated with exposure to PFOA.

The Department of Health studied data from New York State’s Cancer Registry between the dates of January 1995 through December 2014 to analyze cancers diagnosed among residents of Hoosick Falls.

The investigation reported lower rates of certain types of cancer that have been linked to long-term PFOA exposure, including kidney, thyroid and testicular cancers.

A significantly elevated rate of lung cancer, which has not been linked to PFOA exposure, was however reported. There were 91 cases of lung cancer found during the study period – much higher than the expected rate of 65 cases for a population of this size.

Critics found the investigation to be flawed as it did not take into account the Hoosick Falls residents who were diagnosed with cancer after moving away from the village.

The report also fails to indicate whether cancer rates were specifically reviewed among individuals whose blood contained elevated levels of PFOA.

“The purpose of the investigation was to determine whether village residents who consumed contaminated water had increased rates of cancer relative to the rest of the state,” stated deputy commissioner for public health Brad Hutton.

Residents who live in the town of Hoosick surrounding the village were also not included in the study. The Department of Health stated that it limited its investigation to village residents since their level of exposure to PFOA was consistent.

Additionally, the study was limited to cancer and ignored other health conditions that have been linked to high exposure of PFOA, such as preeclampsia, colitis, thyroid disease, high cholesterol and respiratory problems.

Read the DOH Cancer Report Summary for more information.

The full article can be viewed here.


Village Mayor Agrees Hoosick Falls Water is Now Clean

Lori Van Buren

Hoosick Falls Mayor, David Borge, recently stated that he is in agreement with the New York State Health Commissioner’s view that the village now has some of the cleanest drinking water in the country.

On Tuesday, Mayor Borge stated, “I agree with the Commissioner’s statement and we have had clean water since March of 2016.”

Since the discovery of dangerously high levels of PFOA in the village’s water supply in 2014, Hoosick Falls and New York State officials have been working to ensure clean drinking water for residents.

Hoosick Falls’ municipal water system was completely transitioned to the new full-capacity carbon filtration system earlier this month. This new system facilitates for higher volume treatment of water, ensuring the village access to clean drinking water.

“The full capacity GAC system replaced the temporary system and we continue to have non-detect sampling results. Municipal water users can be confident of the effectiveness of the technology and the results,” said Mayor Borge.

Read the full story here.


Honeywell Conducting Investigation into New Pollution in Hoosick Falls

LUCAS WILLARD / WAMC

In a meeting held this week, Honeywell representatives informed residents that there may be another form of pollutant leaking into their drinking water, apart from PFOA chemicals they are already exposed to.

Under a state consent order, Honeywell is conducting an investigation into the detection of chemicals at the site of the company’s former building in Hoosick Falls.

The type of pollutant in question is called volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Prior to this investigation, chemicals known as TCE and 111-TCA were found at the John Street Honeywell location.

Honeywell is now asking permission from Hoosick Falls residents to test their homes for VOCs, as directed by the consent order with the New York State Department of Health and Environmental Conservation.

39 properties surrounding the area of Honeywell’s former facility will be investigated, according to the company’s Global Remediation Director, John Morris.

At the meeting held this week, Morris explained to town residents that VOCs enter homes through vapors released from contaminated groundwater. Basements and living rooms will be tested in the specified homes.

TCE is a known carcinogen, according to the Department of Health. It can affect the central nervous system, liver, kidneys, reproductive and immune systems, and may also cause birth defects.

Read more here.


NYS Assembly Schedules Water Quality Hearing

water contaminationA victory for the team involved in the Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh water contamination cases was accomplished yesterday when it was announced that the Assembly will hold public hearings on water quality in New York State in early September.

Two public hearings will be held in Albany and Suffolk County related to harmful water contamination situations in various communities across New York State. The Assembly will review the causes and response to the known contaminations as well as measures to prevent future occurrences.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Englebright and Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried will, “examine the issue of water contamination and assess our current laws and public policies on these matters, and how they’re working, to protect public access to safe, clean water.”

Heastie stated how, “Recent reports of water contamination in municipalities across the state have highlighted the need for a thorough review of measures to ensure clean and healthy water in our communities.”

Residents of Hoosick Falls, Petersburgh and other communities who believe they may have been impacted by the PFOA water contamination are encouraged to contact us or submit a contamination contact form.


PFOA Blood Testing in Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh NY

The New York State Department of Health is offering blood testing for people with concerns about PFOA contamination from living and/or working in the Hoosick Falls or Petersburgh areas. See below for details:

 

Hoosick Falls: Tuesday, July 12th from 2 PM to 7 PM

Saturday July 16th from 9 AM to 3 PM

HAYC3 Armory, Hoosick Falls, NY

 

Petersburgh:  Saturday, July 23rd from 9 AM to 2 PM

Petersburgh Veterans Memorial Community Center

Hoosick Falls Blood TestingPetersburgh Blood Testing

Residents of Hoosick Falls, Petersburgh and other communities who believe they may have been impacted by the PFOA water contamination are encouraged to submit a contact form.


Governor Cuomo Claims PFOA is Removed from Hoosick Falls Water

Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo visited Hoosick Falls, NY on Sunday and announced that a new filtration system in the town has successfully eliminated PFOA from the municipal water supply.

At a command center set up in Hoosick Falls by the Department of Environmental Conservation, Cuomo announced, “The PFOA is out of the water.”

Nevertheless, state officials are still warning Hoosick residents not to use tap water for consumption until a complete flush of the water system has been conducted.

Cuomo also discussed several permanent solutions that are being considered, which include using water from the Hoosic River, increasing the capacity of a village well that has lower levels of PFOA, or using a reservoir about 12 miles away.

The state aims to have the new system delivering clean tap water by next week.

Read the full story here.

Residents of Hoosick Falls and other communities who believe they may have been impacted by the PFOA water contamination are encouraged to submit a contact form.