DEC Contact: Sean Mahar (518) 402-8000
PressOffice@dec.ny.gov

June 03, 2016

NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION SECURES AGREEMENT THAT HOLDS SAINT GOBAIN & HONEYWELL RESPONSIBLE FOR PFOA CONTAMINATION IN HOOSICK FALLS AREA

Agreement Orders Companies to Investigate Contamination, Pay for Village Water System and Reimburse the State for Costs Incurred

State to Provide Rebates to Village Residents for Past Water Bills

 State to Rehab of Well 3 to Improve Effectiveness of Treatment at Municipal
Water System

Today’s Action Builds on State’s Response and Commitment to Clean up Water Contamination

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that the state has executed two Consent Orders (http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/regions_pdf/stgobainco632016.pdf, and http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/regions_pdf/oakmaterialsco62016.pdf) that will hold Saint Gobain and Honeywell responsible for the PFOA contamination in the Hoosick Falls area.  Under the Consent Orders the State will require the companies to:  

  • Investigate the source and determine the full scope and extent of contamination at four Honeywell and two St. Gobain plants; 
  • Investigate feasibility of an alternate water supply which may include a new well field, a surface water supply source, or an interconnection with an existing municipal water supply system, among others;
  • Fund the installation and maintenance of temporary and full capacity filtration systems for the Village municipal water supply;  
  • Reimburse State for costs incurred for response and investigation into the contamination, and well sampling; and
  • Continue to pay for bottled water for Village and Town residents until successful installation of the full capacity filtration system.

In addition the State will rehabilitate Well 3 on the municipal water system to improve effectiveness of the Village’s carbon treatment system. The State is also transferring payment to the Village for rebates to residents for past water bills for water that was determined to be unsafe for use.

“The State is taking aggressive action to hold all parties accountable for the costs associated with the full remediation of the contamination in the Hoosick Falls area,” DEC Acting Commissioner Seggos said. “These orders send a strong message to industries operating in New York that they have an ethical and legal obligation to protect public health, safety and the environment. We will continue to ensure all communities across the state have access to clean, drinkable water.”

Funding for Village Water Filtration System

The McCaffrey Street Consent Order memorializes Saint Gobain’s commitment to pay for the maintenance of the existing temporary drinking water filtration system on the Village’s municipal water supply which is currently filtering PFOA out of the drinking water. Saint Gobain will be required to pay for all costs associated with the design, installation and operation of a full capacity water treatment system, and all additional incidental operation and maintenance costs of the municipal water system caused by the installation of the full capacity system. Honeywell and Saint Gobain will continue to provide bottled water to residents of the Village until the full capacity system is in place and to Town of Hoosick residents until their point of entry treatment (POET) systems installed for private drinking water wells are cleared for all uses. 

The State will also rehabilitate Well 3 of the municipal supply system as an interim remedial measure to attempt to improve the effectiveness of the Village’s carbon treatment system and will seek to recover any cost associated with the rehabilitation of Well 3 from the responsible parties.  The Consent Order also requires Honeywell and Saint Gobain to negotiate with the Village with respect to the Village’s past costs.  As part of this component, Honeywell and Saint Gobain have indicated to the State that they will make a comprehensive offer to reimburse the Village for costs associated with the Village’s response, and that their offer will provide reimbursement for rebates provided to Village Municipal Water Supply users.   

Alternate Water Supply

As part of the State Superfund program’s required Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study, Honeywell and Saint Gobain will conduct an evaluation of the feasibility of an alternate water supply for the Village of Hoosick Falls, including, but not limited to a new well field, a surface water supply source, an interconnection with an existing municipal water supply system, continuing the treatment provided, or any combination of those alternatives.

Following the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study, the State will issue a Record of Decision that will establish a comprehensive remedy to clean-up the Hoosick Falls area and to continue to provide long term safe drinking water to the residents of the Village and Town. The public will have an opportunity to comment on the selected remedy before it is finalized.  

Water Bill Rebates to Residents

To address concerns from Village of Hoosick Falls residents regarding their water bills, the State is transferring funds to the Village to provide rebates for past water bills for water that was determined to be unsafe for use and for water that was used for flushing the Village’s water system during the installation of the temporary treatment system that was recently completed.   The State will seek to recover this cost from the responsible parties. 

Reimburse State for Past Costs

Honeywell and Saint Gobain also agreed to pay for the State’s costs of the ongoing response and investigation into the contamination, including the sampling of private water wells in the Town and Village, sampling of the Hoosic River and the bus garage on River Road, sampling of soils, the State's preliminary efforts to evaluate alternative water supplies, and the costs associated with developing, overseeing, administering and enforcing the Orders. Additionally, under a separate Order, Honeywell will commence work to determine possible contamination at several potential disposal sites, and will be responsible for paying all the State’s costs in overseeing implementation of that Order.

State Actions to Date

To date, the State has undertaken the following actions to help residents in the Village of Hoosick Falls and Town of Hoosick to secure clean water:

  • Tested more than 1,000 private wells throughout the Hoosick Falls area and testing is ongoing; 
  • Installed 765 POET Systems on private water systems and cleared 652 systems for all uses;
  • Initiated a confidential PFOA biomonitoring project for more than 2,000 residents of the Hoosick Falls area to measure PFOA levels in blood to provide information to residents on exposure;
  • Conducted regular informational sessions at the Armory in the Village of Hoosick Falls every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday beginning in March to meet with residents and allow them to sign up for well testing and for the biomonitoring project.  The State also established a hotline to keep the public informed: 1-800-801-8092;
  • Issued emergency regulations to first classify PFOA and then add PFOS and several associated chemicals as hazardous substances to provide the State with the legal authority to pursue State Superfund designation and cleanup of the site using State Superfund resources;
  • Urged EPA to take vigorous action on the federal level to regulate PFOA and to initiate an evaluation of the addition of the Hoosick Falls Saint Gobain - McCaffrey Street site to the Superfund National Priorities List;
  • Achieved significant progress in its efforts to identify alternate drinking water sources, including groundwater, surface water and connection to existing water supplies and has identified the first phase of potential groundwater locations; and
  • Commenced sampling of certain gardens, residential soil and select surface waters as part of the State’s Superfund investigation.
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