Albany NY (5/12/2023) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced an agreement that commits Saint-Gobain and Honeywell to implement the new water supply for the Hoosick Falls Village Water System, with an estimated cost of $10 million. The agreement also holds the companies accountable for $30 million in past costs incurred by state taxpayers as well as $5 million in natural resource damages (NRD). The companies remain responsible for determining the extent of site-related contamination from historic industrial operations, including on-site disposal of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) at the McCaffrey Street facility in the village of Hoosick Falls.
“Protecting the health of Hoosick Falls residents remains a top priority for New York State, and today’s announcement ensures that Saint-Gobain and Honeywell will meet their obligations to provide a permanent source of clean drinking water,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Following extensive community input, DEC enacted the comprehensive water supply plan in 2021 and with this agreement, Honeywell and Saint-Gobain are held accountable for costs and required steps to address PFOA contamination. With the partnership of Mayor Rob Allen and Supervisor Mark Surdam, DEC will continue to ensure the companies work expeditiously to get this important project completed. I applaud the work of DEC’s remediation and legal experts for their tireless efforts to ensure this important milestone was achieved.”
“The Department is thrilled to see that residents in Hoosick Falls will have a new safe source of clean drinking water that they need and deserve, and is further encouraged to see that the new water supply system will not become the financial burden of New York’s taxpayers,” Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. “We look forward to continuing our work with DEC to protect the health of this community and to ensuring they remain informed regarding remediation efforts.”
The agreement amends the Order on Consent the companies first signed with DEC to address Hoosick Falls contamination in 2016. It requires the companies to implement the remedy selected in DEC’s Record of Decision (ROD) to address the contaminated village water supply. The modified order also provides for the companies to reimburse the State for future Point of Entry Treatment (POET)-related costs on an ongoing basis, related to the continued operation of hundreds of POET systems installed by DEC at private residences in the Hoosick Falls area since the discovery of PFOA contamination in the region.
In addition to a $30 million payment for reimbursement of costs incurred by New York State through the Superfund program for the State’s emergency response-including installation of residential treatment systems to remove contamination from private drinking water supplies-the companies also agree to a $5 million payment in natural resource damages (NRD). DEC will consult with the town and village before selecting NRD-funded project(s).
Through a separate agreement with Saint-Gobain and Honeywell, the village of Hoosick Falls will also receive financial support for the long-term operation and management of the new water supply and water treatment plant costs as required by the State’s ROD.
“The Village is gratified that a remedy for resolving the PFOA water crisis will now be put into place by the development of a clean water source and the construction of associated infrastructure,” said Hoosick Falls Mayor Robert Allen. “We long advocated this approach to the Department and are grateful for its arrival and effort put forth in achieving this goal. The Agreement negotiated by the Village and endorsed by DEC assures that the project will go forward with all costs being covered by the companies.”
“We appreciate the efforts of the DEC, DOH, and the Companies in moving along with response programs to advance the Town’s priority of eliminating exposures to these contaminants in groundwater,” said Town of Hoosick Supervisor Mark Surdam. “We look forward to working with the DEC and DOH to ensure Town residents with Point of Entry Treatment Systems on their water supplies continue to receive the support and attention they deserve and the Operation, Maintenance, and Monitoring of these systems continues while the important work in the Village advances through this Order.”
“The Hoosick Area Community Participation Working Group (CPWG) is very happy to see that an agreement among the parties has been achieved regarding DEC’s Record of Decision,” said Patrick Dailey, CPWG Co-Chair and Hoosick Falls Central School District Superintendent. “A reliable and long-term source of clean drinking water is among the highest priorities for our community. We thank DEC for its diligence on this critically important project and look forward to a continuing dialogue with Honeywell, Saint-Gobain, and New York State agencies with the goal of getting past the hardships our community has endured and on to a bright future for the Hoosick Falls area.”
In 2021, DEC finalized the Saint-Gobain – McCaffrey Street Record of Decision to provide a permanent water source to address PFOA contamination in the village water supply. As part of the State’s commitment to ensuring residents in the Hoosick Falls Village Water System continue to have access to clean and reliable drinking water, DEC’s ROD incorporates findings from the Municipal Water Supply Study (PDF) and public comments received on the State’s Proposed Remedial Action Plan (PRAP) to select a groundwater source outside of the contaminated aquifer, in addition to the continued use of a granular activated carbon (GAC) filter.
The final ROD being implemented by Saint-Gobain and Honeywell under stringent DEC oversight includes:
- Developing two new groundwater supply wells. Existing test wells south of Hoosick Falls will be converted to production wells;
- Retaining one existing village well. Redundancy is required in the case of an outage of the primary wells;
- Constructing a water transmission line from the new wells to the village water treatment plant along public rights of way;
- Continued operation of the public water supply treatment plant to remove naturally occurring elements, and ensure disinfection and distribution to meet applicable water supply requirements; and
- Retaining the existing GAC treatment system to ensure non-detect concentrations of site-related contaminants of concern in finished drinking water.
Under DEC oversight, Saint-Gobain and Honeywell installed a GAC treatment system at the village water treatment plant to eliminate the community’s exposure to PFOA contamination. The GAC treatment system removes PFOA and other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from the drinking water supply. Additionally, DEC installed hundreds of POET systems for individual homes in the surrounding area, including in the town of Hoosick. In addition to the implementation of the new, clean drinking water supply, DEC continues to require Honeywell and Saint-Gobain to identify and address the sources of PFOA contamination in this community.
DEC and DOH will continue to provide Hoosick area residents with information and updates regarding ongoing remediation efforts. In addition, state agencies continue to engage the Hoosick Area Community Participation Work Group (CPWG) to discuss the progress of the PFOA cleanup.
Additional information and documents regarding state actions underway in the Hoosick Falls area are available on the DEC website.