For upcoming happenings and events, check out the event page.
Mayor Sends Letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt
April 18, 2017—Mayor Robert Allen recently sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, advocating for listing as a federal Superfund Site and the creation of a Citizens Advisory Committee. Even though the Village of Hoosick Falls municipal water supply remains non-detect for PFOA and other PFCs, environmental remediation is now one of the primary focuses going forward. Federal support would be a great next step, and would be a solid addition to the work New York's Department of Environmental Conservation has already done. Click here to read the letter.
Hoosick Townwide Reassessment
DATE MISPRINT: It has come to our attention that the start date on the residential letters that were sent out reads May "2016". This is incorrect—it will not be starting untill May 2017. Sorry for the confusion.
April 7, 2017—The Town of Hoosick reassessment project is underway. GAR Associates LLC has been hired to conduct a comprehensive data verification program in order to create fair and equitable updated property assessments for the tax roll. On April 7th, letters have been mailed to commercial and residential property owners introducing the project, and giving details on how the process will work. Commercial property owners are also asked to complete the survey in their letters. Additionally, there will be a workshop on Thursday, April 13th to discuss reassessment. Seating will be limited, and people who would like to attend are being asked to register online at http://garappointments.garappraisal.com or call 866-910-1776. The location of the workshop will be announced upon registration. Additional times may be available based on number of interested people registered.
If registering for the workshop online, you will need to reply to a confirmation email before your site registration is active.
Local Healthcare Partnership
March 29, 2017—Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is committed to ensuring that residents of the greater Hoosick and Cambridge area continue to have access to quality care close to home. Toward that end, they are pleased to be partnering with Twin Rivers Medical, P.C., which will begin operating out of the former Hoosick Falls Family Health Center at 16 Danforth Street on April 3rd.
Twin Rivers Medical, P.C., will be staffed by a team of recognized and respected healthcare providers. Dr. James Carroll and Melissa Rowe, NP, both formerly of Village Primary Care, and Dr. Marcus Martinez, formerly of Martinez Family Practice, will merge their practices to provide continuity of care for the community.
Twin Rivers Medical, P.C., will work closely with our team at SVHC and through our affiliation with Dartmouth-Hitchcock to guarantee patients have access to the latest technology and services. Within the next year the office will expand its services to include laboratory, imaging, and physical therapy. It is anticipated that additional primary care physicians and associate providers will join the practice to provide increased access in the future.
Current patients of both Martinez Family Practice and Village Primary Care are encouraged to continue to receive medical care at the new Twin Rivers Medical, P.C., office. Twin Rivers Medical, P.C., will participate with all insurances previously accepted at these locations.
Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event Announced
March 15, 2017—There will be a Household Hazardous Waste Collection event on Saturday, April 29th between the hours of 8:00am to 12:00pm at the Hoosick Falls Transfer Station. Residents of communities belonging to the Eastern Rensselaer County Solid Waste Management Authority (ERCSWMA) are eligible, but must call 518-687-1018 to register or fill out the online form at the ERCSWMA website. Click here for a list of accepted items. For more information, contact ERCSWMA.
Village Statement on Revised Agreement with Saint-Gobain and Honeywell
February, 21, 2017—After holding a public meeting to obtain comments and feedback, the Hoosick Falls Village Board has a revised agreement with Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International whereby the companies will provide the Village with $1,045,000 for expenses related to PFOA contamination.
The Village Board will consider the revised agreement at a special meeting to be held Thursday, February 23, at the Hoosick Falls Armory, 80 Church Street, at 6:00 p.m.
The new agreement reimburses the Village for out-of-pocket expenses incurred through the first quarter of the 2016-2017 fiscal year, covers professional services of three consulting firms assisting the Village with the PFOA crisis through December 31, 2016, and provides an additional $153,000 for the Village to use at its discretion.
In return, the Village agrees not to sue either or both companies for their potential role in contaminating three existing wells with PFOA and their associated water delivery apparatus in their current configuration at the existing water treatment plant. These wells have already been retrofitted with the Full Capacity Granular Activated Carbon system which is consistently removing PFOA to non-detect levels.
The agreement has been revised to ensure the Village retains its right to pursue any other claims, such as those associated with:
- new wells or their equipment
- alternative sources of water
- extensions or additions to the current municipal water supply system
- contaminants other than PFOA
- responding to PFOA contamination other than in, and associated with, the Village's current municipal water supply system. For example, the Village can pursue litigation relative to contamination at or emanating from the Village-owned landfill
Finally, the agreement preserves the Village's right to seek indemnification and acknowledges that nothing set forth in the agreement affects any rights and claims any third parties may have against the companies or their predecessors.
DEC and DOH Update on Honeywell's investigation at Former John Street Facility
February 8, 2017—Recent groundwater sampling by Honeywell detected the presence of the volatile organic compounds (VOC), trichloroethylene (TCE) and 1,1,1-trichloroethane (111-TCA), at the company’s former John St. facility. In response, the New York State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation have directed Honeywell to conduct an immediate soil vapor intrusion investigation.
These investigations are routinely completed near sites where VOCs are identified to help determine if any actions are required to protect residents from potential exposure. All homes in the identified area are part of the Village’s drinking water system. All finished water samples on this system have consistently returned non-detect levels of these compounds and testing for VOCs is part of routine operations.
Soil vapor intrusion refers to a process by which contamination beneath the ground’s surface moves into the indoor air of overlying buildings. Air sampling using specialized canisters and probes will be installed on properties within the immediate proximity facility. If any additional actions are required following the investigation, Honeywell will be responsible for the cost of all additional monitoring and mitigation efforts.
Some VOCs, which are chemicals that can easily enter the air as gases from some solids or liquids, are suspected or known carcinogens.
For more information on soil vapor intrusion, visit the NYS DOH resources here, and here.
More information on volatile organic compounds
Honeywell Hoosick Falls VOC Letter
Hoosick Falls VOC Fact Sheet
Hoosick Falls VOC Discovery Map
New York State Announces Hoosick Falls Full Capacity Water Filtration System is Fully Operational
Public water supply continues to be non-detect for PFOA and acceptable for all uses
New granular activated carbon system replaces interim system that has been providing clean drinking water since March 2016
Transition to full capacity system marks milestone in State's ongoing response to water contamination in Hoosick Falls area
February 7, 2017—The New York State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation today announced that the Village of Hoosick Falls' municipal water system has fully transitioned to the new full capacity granular activated carbon filtration system (GAC). The new full capacity system allows for the treatment of a higher volume of water and will ensure residents in the village continue to have access to clean drinking water.
This transition from the interim system, which was installed in March 2016, comes following six successful tests of finished water samples from the full capacity GAC. Non-detectable levels of PFOA in the Village's water supply confirms the effectiveness of the system in providing water that is acceptable for all uses. Sampling will continue to ensure the system's effectiveness as it operates independently.
The new full capacity GAC had been operating in tandem with an interim system since December 30, 2016, while sampling was conducted. The full capacity system functions like the interim system by running water through two GAC filters before entering the village distribution system. Water is sampled as it enters the system, sampled again between the first and second filters, and sampled after filtration for a comprehensive analysis. All finished water samples collected have consistently shown non-detectable levels of PFOA.
"New York State has taken unprecedented action to secure clean drinking water for residents of Hoosick Falls," said Dr. Howard Zucker, Commissioner of Health. "I applaud the efforts of the local officials who worked side by side with Department staff to ensure the activation of the full capacity filtration system. This major undertaking wouldn't have been possible without them."
"This is another significant step forward in our ongoing commitment to provide clean water to the residents of Hoosick Falls," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "We are continuing our work to hold the responsible parties accountable, fully identify the extent of groundwater contamination, and develop aggressive remediation plans. We are also conducting the second phase of our analysis for an alternate village water supply."
Senator Kathy Marchione said, "Today's announcement that Hoosick Falls' municipal water system has completed the transition to a new, full capacity GAC filtration system is truly welcome news for the entire community. The new GAC filtration system will ensure access to clean drinking water for Village residents and demonstrates the state's ongoing, significant commitment to helping Hoosick Falls move forward. I want to thank Governor Cuomo, and the dedicated men and women of our State DEC and DOH who have been working hard to assist the community and be responsive to local needs. Most importantly, I want to recognize the local residents who have been strong, resilient and committed to helping the community recover."
David B. Borge, Mayor of the Village of Hoosick Falls said, "On behalf of the Village of Hoosick Falls and all of the users of our municipal water system, I am very pleased that the full capacity GAC system has been approved by NYS and verified by multiple samplings to be consistently effective in reducing PFOA levels to non-detect. This is a major step forward for our community."
Mark Surdam, Supervisor Town of Hoosick said, "Our goal has always been to ensure Hoosick Falls has clean drinking water and having the Full Capacity Water Filtration System operational is a significant milestone in that effort. I want to thank all of our partners at the state and local levels not only for working tirelessly to respond to this situation, but for holding those at the source of this contamination accountable."
Following the discovery of water contamination in the Village, DOH and DEC worked collaboratively to secure clean water for the community and hold those responsible for the pollution accountable for their actions. Through these efforts, the state has secured a legally binding consent order which details the specific actions Honeywell and Saint Gobain must take to address the contamination they caused. Included in that order is the responsibility for all costs associated with the design, installation, operation, monitoring, and maintenance of both the interim and full capacity GAC systems.
As part of the consent order, the polluters were required to provide bottled water to the residents on the village water system until the full capacity GAC is operating independently. At the state's direction, Honeywell and Saint Gobain will continue to provide bottled water at Tops for the next six weeks, while two additional rounds of confirmatory sampling are conducted. Beyond this six week window, the companies will also deliver bottled water to any residents with point of entry treatment (POET) systems that have not yet been cleared for use.
In addition to the installation of the full capacity filtration system, the State's efforts in Hoosick Falls include:
- DEC secured the installation and service of more than 831 POET systems.
- DOH initiated a confidential PFOA biomonitoring program for more than 2,900 residents of the Hoosick Falls area to date and retained Mount Sinai as an independent resource for residents who wish to discuss their results.
- DOH coordinated with the Village of Hoosick Falls, Town of Hoosick, Rensselaer County and Saint Gobain to establish a bottled water program for approximately 4,500 residents of the town of Hoosick.
- DOH and DEC have implemented aggressive sampling and testing efforts in order to both understand the extent of the contamination as well as to identify a new water source for the Village. This includes extensive sampling of the Village's soil and water supply, as well as the testing of more than 1,000 private wells.
- DEC Issued an Emergency Regulation to Classify PFOA as a Hazardous Substance and classified the Saint-Gobain McCaffrey Street Facility as a Class 2 State Superfund Site which unlocks state resources to address contamination and respond to the community's immediate needs. Additionally, the Hoosick Falls landfill was identified as a potential State Superfund site during its investigation of contamination.
- DEC executed a consent order with Honeywell and Saint-Gobain which requires implementation of a superfund remedial program for the McCaffrey Street and Liberty Street plants, including a provision for an alternate water supply feasibility study, which will incorporate the field work conducted by DEC. DEC executed a separate order with Honeywell on June 3, for remedial programs at the former John Street and the three River Road plant sites. DEC is providing field oversight of these remedial programs.
- DOH and DEC have conducted more than 124 informational sessions at the HAYC3 Armory and have spoken to more than 1,600 residents in the Village of Hoosick Falls. DOH and DEC continue to staff the information sessions on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
- A State Hotline, 1-800-801-8092, has been established for the public to stay informed. To date, DOH has answered questions from more than 1,700 concerned residents from Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh.
As part of the comprehensive investigation of alternative water supply sources, DEC has conducted aquifer characterization and assessment field work, including exploratory borings, at several potential groundwater source locations. One potential alternate source has been identified. Over the next several weeks, DEC will conduct the second phase of the analysis to determine if the capacity is sufficient to provide the supply needed by the village. DEC will share the results of this analysis with the responsible parties as they complete the alternate water supply feasibility study. The alternate water feasibility study will be released for public comment once it is finalized.
Today's announcement builds on the aggressive actions implemented all across New York State to address water contamination issues. The New York State Water Quality Rapid Response Team has developed a national model to research, identify, and quickly address water contamination.
To enhance these efforts, the Governor has proposed the unprecedented $2 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017, which will provide direct support to communities to enhance and expand drinking water infrastructure and upgrade treatment systems.
Residents in the Hoosick Falls area can continue to stay informed of the ongoing remediation efforts in the area by contacting the State Hotline at: 1-800-801-8092.
January 24, 2017—The Village Board would like to thank the public for the comments received during the January 20th meeting on the proposed agreement with SGPP and Honeywell. The Board has directed its special counsel to discuss these issues with SGPP and Honeywell. As a result, the Village Board anticipates that revisions to the agreement will be forthcoming. In the meantime, the Village Board has prepared a document to answer some of the questions and concerns raised thus far. If revisions are made to the current agreement, or if the Village Board intends to take action on the agreement, additional notice will be made to the public.
Hoosick Falls Agreement With Saint-Gobain and Honeywell Available to Public
Village Board Set to Consider Its Approval at Jan. 12 Public Meeting
January 9, 2017—An $850,000 agreement Village of Hoosick Falls officials have finalized with Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International has been posted for public review on the Village website here. The Village Board will consider the agreement for approval at a special meeting on Jan. 12, to be held at the Hoosick Falls Senior Center, 69 Church Street, from 6:00 p.m to 8:00 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend and provide comments on the agreement before the Board considers it for approval.
"The Village Board's priority was to ensure residents had access to clean water at no cost, which ultimately was accomplished by the state's Consent Order with the companies. We could have stopped there. Instead, the Village Board continued to demand Saint-Gobain and Honeywell cover all the additional costs and losses the Village has incurred, to ensure local residents do not bear the brunt of a situation they didn't create. To the companies' credit, they realized the financial burden the PFOA crisis has created for our small community and agreed to this unprecedented agreement. The Board is extremely proud of what has been accomplished to protect the safety and financial well-being of our community," said Village Mayor David Borge.
Approximately 40 percent, or $337,000, of the companies' payment to the Village will be used to reimburse the Village for losses sustained from decreased water and sewer revenues, costs associated with flushing Village water piping and associated repairs to water hydrants, and increased administrative and postage costs associated with several mailings to residents, advertisements and website development. The remainder, approximately $513,000, will be used to pay the Village's team of engineering, legal and communications consultants, who have been working without payment for their services for more than a year to assure the situation is appropriately communicated to the public and all issues were addressed. Specifically, MRB Engineers will receive approximately $100,000 and FitzGerald Morris Baker Firth PC will receive approximately $410,000, of which approximately $100,000 will be paid to Behan Communications, Inc., for assistance it provided to enhance the Village's public involvement program.
"It is important to remember that in the early days of this crisis, the Village had none of the resources needed to evaluate the presence of PFOA in Village water, to negotiate with New York State and the companies to protect the interests of residents, or to communicate with the public and media to ensure residents were aware of the free bottled water program, the state's biomonitoring program, and similar activities," said Mr. Borge. "The Village had to assemble a team of experts to assist us. I am certain that without their diligent, experienced and dedicated expertise, the Village would not have been in a position to successfully negotiate the agreement we are considering for approval. I am aware of no other community dealing with an environmental crisis such as this that has successfully negotiated such a valuable agreement on behalf of its residents."
The newspaper of record for the Village of Hoosick Falls is the Eastwick Press. Public notices will be posted in the paper.