DEC issues emergency regulation after chemical found in Hoosick Falls water

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – State health officials as well as officials from Hoosick Falls came together to announce the next steps after the village water was found to be contaminated.

The handling of Hoosick Fall’s water will now fall on the state government rather than the federal government. The move was decided by Governor Andrew Cuomo and state health officials in a closed door meeting on Wednesday.

“It’s the state of New York, and he’s taking charge of this whole situation and we’re making major changes at this point,” NYS Dept. of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said.

The Department of Environmental Conservation has issued an emergency regulation naming PFOA as a hazardous substance. The chemical has been found in the village of Hoosick Fall’s drinking water.

The regulation will allow the DEC to investigate the extent of the contamination and begin remediation.

The Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plant is believed to be the source of the contamination. It has also been named a superfund site, which is defined as a polluted location that needs a long-term response.

The designation also allows Hoosick Falls to tap into state resources.

“To enable the DEC to go out and spend money against the state superfund to address investigations and conduct some remedial work,” DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “We then turn around and go back to the polluter to go after those monies.”

The money will be used to retest wells, conduct blood tests, install filtration systems at schools and establish a state hotline. But is all of this coming too late?

On Wednesday, state officials defended not taking action sooner when they first learned of possible contamination in 2014.

“Obviously, we have been and we will be more aggressive about bringing the level down,” Zucker said.

Hoosick Falls Mayor David Borge also responded to criticism over how long village officials may have known about the contamination.

“We’ve been very proactive from this right from the beginning, and I am very pleased that the state is stepping forward now, and it’s going to help us reach our goal of clean water and cleaning up the sites that much quicker,” he said.

A temporary water filtration system is being installed in Hoosick Falls. Saint-Gobain has agreed to pay for it.

The hotline will be used to update the public about the safety of the water in Hoosick Falls. The number is 1 (800) 801-8092.

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