EPA to test Hoosick Falls, NY ballfields for contamination

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HOOSICK FALLS, NY >> An investigation into how a toxic chemical contaminated the village's water supply has spread to include the local ballfields.

Investigators will test soil in and around the recreational area on Waterworks Road to determine if the same chemical found in the tap water has contaminated the soil, the EPA announced Friday. The agency says the testing will also determine if the area was used to dispose Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical which officials suspect was used in multiple local factories for decades and has been linked to causing cancer.

"If PFOA, hazardous substances, or other contaminants are present in the soil at the ballfields, the EPA will analyze the results and determine whether any cleanup work is necessary to protect the people who use the ballfields," the agency stated in a community update issued Friday.

The area is between the village's water treatment plant and the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plant. Elevated levels of PFOA, a key processing agent once used to make Teflon and similar non-stick cookware products, were found in samples from the village water supply and underneath the McCaffrey Street manufacturing facility.

On Thursday, the state Department of Environmental Conservation named Saint-Gobain and Honeywell International as two companies potentially responsible for the contamination and ordered they release numerous documents to investigators.

In a letter sent to both companies, the DEC referenced properties on Church, First, John, Liberty, and McCaffrey Streets, and Carey Avenue. The letter also referenced Allied Signal, which operated in Hoosick Falls for years and merged with Honeywell in 1999, and the former Dodge Industries.

More companies could be brought forward during the ongoing investigation. The state intends to make any responsible companies pay for all costs associated with the cleanup, including those incurred by the village and state.

Tests at the recreational area will be done where people are most likely to be exposed to the soil. Including the three ballfields, the dugouts, bleachers, spectator areas, batting cages and pavilion area, and two open fields along Waterworks Road near the water treatment plant.

Investigators will take soil samples at varying depths ranging from the surface down to the groundwater, which they believe is about 18 feet below the surface.

Lab results are expected to be completed in late March or early April and would be made public before the start of preseason for baseball and softball. The EPA also plans to hold a public meeting to explain the results and answer questions.

The EPA, state Department of Health and state Department of Conservation have said they plan on testing soil and water in other parts of the village.

The EPA will also establish an "information repository" at a local library where the public can review and copy records related to the investigation, according to the update issued this week.

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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