Hoosick Falls Water Contamination

In 2015, members of the Hoosick Falls community contacted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with concerns and questions about whether they should drink, bathe in, or cook with their water, which has been found to contain perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

PFOA is a man-made chemical that is toxic and persistent in the environment.  It is used as a surface-active agent and in a variety of products, such as fire-fighting foams, coating additives and cleaning products.

On November 25, 2015, the EPA recommended that, based on the presence of PFOA above 400 ppt in the Village of Hoosick Falls public drinking water supply, people not drink the water from the Hoosick Falls public water supply or use it for cooking.

The New York State Department of Health is the lead for addressing PFOA contamination in the water supply. The New York State Department of Health announced on March 30, 2016 that “repeated testing of the village of Hoosick Falls' municipal water system shows non detection of Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and is now safe for all uses including drinking and cooking.”

For the latest information about work to address the public water supply, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/investigations/hoosick/.

In February 2016, the EPA collected soil samples from the Hoosick Falls Ballfields and Athletic Field. That sampling found levels of PFOA and related compounds ranging from not detectable to 0.021 parts per million (ppm). In May 2016, the EPA conducted additional soil sampling near the McCaffrey Street facility. This included sampling of some residential properties on Carey Avenue, as well as the swampy, wooded area southeast of the McCaffrey Street facility and the football field and picnic area at the end of Waterworks Road. This sampling found levels of PFOA and related compounds ranging from not detectable to 0.0277 ppm. 

Based on an assessment of data collected to date, PFOA levels found in soil do not necessitate any additional sampling or cleanup work in any of the areas sampled at this time. The levels of PFOA and related compounds from the February and May 2016 sampling were well below a site-specific action level of 1 part per million (ppm) developed by EPA based on its updated lifetime drinking water health advisory for PFOA of- 70 parts per trillion (ppt).  

In addition to the soil sampling discussed above, the EPA also conducted Hazard Ranking System (HRS) sampling in spring 2016 to determine if the McCaffrey Street site is eligible for inclusion on the federal Superfund National Priorities List. This HRS sampling effort included sampling of soil, groundwater and storm drains at the McCaffrey Street facility. The HRS is a system EPA uses to score and evaluate potential threats to public health and the environment posed by uncontrolled releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. Sites that score at or above the required threshold qualify for remedial action under the Superfund program and are proposed for listing on the EPA National Priorities List, a list of the most serious sites identified for long-term cleanup. 

Based on the results of the HRS sampling, on September 9, 2016, the McCaffrey Street site was formally proposed for inclusion on the EPA’s National Priorities List. More information about the proposed Superfund listing, and the associated public comment period, which runs until November 8, 2016, is available in a news release: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/corrected-epa-proposes-add-saint-gobain-performance-plastics-site-hoosick-falls-ny. Further information about Superfund and the Superfund cleanup process is available at https://www.epa.gov/superfund.

The EPA is issuing periodic community updates to keep the public informed of its continuing efforts. Public inquiries can be directed to Larisa Romanowski at Romanowski.Larisa@epa.gov or 518-407-0400.