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EPA Designates Hoosick Falls Superfund Site

The state of New York needs to identify a source of clean drinking water for Hoosick Falls. (Daniel Case/Wikimedia Commons)
The state of New York needs to identify a source of clean drinking water for Hoosick Falls. (Daniel Case/Wikimedia Commons)
August 1, 2017

NEW YORK – An industrial site in Hoosick Falls, New York has been designated a federal Superfund site, giving a boost to efforts to clean up the town's drinking water. The EPA announced the new additions to the list Monday morning.

PFOA, a chemical used in non-stick coatings and linked to several serious health concerns, was identified in the town's drinking water as early as November 2014.

According to Liz Moran, a water and natural-resources associate at Environmental Advocates of New York, the EPA Superfund designation is an important step forward, but there's still a long way to go.

"It provides very important and needed resources for cleanup efforts, for making sure that the residents in Hoosick Falls have what they need to protect public health," she says.

Other locations in Hoosick Falls were added to New York's list of state Superfund sites earlier in July.

Residents of the town have criticized the state for being slow to act on the pollution. But Moran says the state has begun acting on its Superfund designation.

"It's enabled the state to work with the polluter for a cleanup process and, very importantly, it gives them the right to call on the polluter to provide Hoosick Falls with a new, clean drinking-water source," she explains.

The polluter must also provide medical monitoring to detect any health problems related to the pollution, as well as resources for medical treatment.

Moran adds that the best source of clean water may be a reservoir located some 13 miles outside of Hoosick Falls, requiring a pipeline that will take considerable time and money to complete.

"The Tomhannock Reservoir is the best source for the residents of Hoosick Falls," she adds. "It is the most protective of public health and provides them with the highest quality water. And that should be on the polluter's dime."

There are now more than 1,300 sites on the EPA Superfund list, but advocates fear a proposed 30-percent cut to the agency's budget could hamper cleanup efforts around the country.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY