Hoosick Falls is considering a new water source.
On Wednesday, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released a Proposed Remedial Action Plan (PRAP) for the village, which included the agency’s recommendation for how to handle the community’s need for a new drinking water source.
Back in 2015, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) informed residents of the Rensselaer County community that its drinking water wasn’t safe due to contamination by a family of chemicals known as PFOAs (perfluorooctanoic acid), which are used in the manufacture of non-stick pans, as well as industrial and commercial products
According to the DEC, its Proposed Remedial Action Plan (PRAP) included findings from the recently completed Municipal Water Supply Study. The upshot of the PRAP is that it recommends the use of a new groundwater source with a granular activated carbon (GAC) filter.
“This is an important milestone, years in the making,” Hoosick Falls Mayor told Capital Tonight. “No one should have high level exposure to PFOA or PFAS, but for a community who has already been exposed, we absolutely need to have zero exposure moving forward, period.”
Not everyone is happy with the proposal.
Former EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck, the President of Beyond Plastics and a senior fellow and visiting faculty member at Bennington College, tweeted on Wednesday, “This is a mistake. PFOA is in groundwater throughout the region and the Cuomo administration is recommending using groundwater with carbon filtration, forever. Cheaper for polluters.”
According to the DEC, “As part of the State's actions to advance a comprehensive cleanup and hold the responsible parties accountable, DEC compelled Saint-Gobain and Honeywell International Corp., to undertake a detailed study to evaluate potential options for a clean and reliable drinking water source for the Hoosick Falls Water District. After review of the study, which details five water supply options, and careful consideration of comments received from the public, DEC developed the PRAP in consultation with the Department of Health (DOH).”
In an emailed statement to Capital Tonight, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "New York State is committed to ensuring the village of Hoosick Falls has a long-term drinking water supply that is clean and meets the community's needs. Since day one, DEC has relied on data and science to determine the actions we take and the decisions we make. And perhaps of equal importance, we've relied on leadership from community advocates and officials to ensure the proposed solution works for the people of Hoosick Falls."
The DEC will be holding a virtual public meeting on Thursday, May 13 to provide the public with an opportunity to learn more about its proposal, ask questions and provide comments.
The clock has already started on a 45-day comment period, ending on June 4, during which comments can be submitted via surface mail or email.