New York state officials announced March 30 that drinking water in the town of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., is free of contaminants related to fluoropolymer processing, lifting a ban on using the water for drinking and cooking.
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. is in the middle of a $3-million-plus effort to upgrade the town's water system, after tests found high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid in the local water system and state officials declared the company at least partly responsible.
The company, which is a unit of France-based Saint-Gobain SA, has two factories in Hoosick Falls.
While the situation has attracted widespread public concern and political and media attention for months, state government officials portrayed this latest announcement as a step forward for residents. They said a temporary filtration system installed in mid-March has now managed to eliminate PFOA from the water system.
“Today marks a significant milestone in the state's efforts to address the water contamination in the Hoosick Falls area,” said Basil Seggos, acting commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Saint-Gobain said it was pleased that the temporary system of carbon filters it paid for has reduced PFOA to non-detectable levels, and it said it was moving ahead with a permanent upgrade to the local water system, at a cost of $2.5 million.
“As the town's largest employer, we are fully invested in the well-being of the Village,” the company said. “The plan to install the long-term water filtration system later this year, also funded by our company, remains on track, pending the approval of the design implementation by the New York Department of Health.”
As well, the company has been paying for bottled water for the town's residents since November.
New York state officials said they have committed up to $10 million to install private filtration systems in hundreds of area homes.
But state officials in New York, New Hampshire and Vermont are also investigating possible PFOA contamination in the water systems of other communities, suggesting concerns could grow.