DEC: Saint-Gobain, Honeywell International responsible for PFOA contamination in Hoosick Falls

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation identified Saint-Gobain and Honeywell International as the parties responsible for the PFOA contamination in Hoosick Falls.

The DEC’s investigation identified groundwater contamination at the McCaffrey Street site where Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International used PFOA for decades.

Honeywell was purchased by AlliedSignal in 1999 and took its more-recognizable name. A unit of AlliedSignal, called AlliedSignal Laminated Systems, operated on the McCaffrey Site from 1986 to 1996.

Using state superfund authority, the DEC will hold Saint-Gobain and Honeywell International liable for the full investigation and cleanup of PFOA contamination.

“I didn’t expect this type of attention,” Michael Hickey, of Hoosick Falls, said.

Hickey has spent almost the last two years trying to find a solution to the water contamination in Hoosick Falls.

More companies could become liable.

“First and foremost, under Governor Cuomo’s direction, our priority is to provide safe and clean drinking water to the people of Hoosick Falls,” DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement. “We will hold all companies responsible for groundwater contamination and make sure they pay all costs associated with the investigation and remediation of the source of the problem as well as assuring a usable drinking water source.”

In a letter the DEC gave to Saint-Gobain, the company said they were told they are potentially responsible for the PFOA contamination. But the DEC told NEWS10 ABC that the agency demanded the two companies enter into binding consent orders; therefore, Saint-Gobain is responsible.

If Saint-Gobain, Honeywell and any other potentially responsible parties refuse to voluntarily cleanup under such an order, New York State will pursue legal action.

“I think it’s moving in a good direction now, but I think it took a lot to get here,” Hickey said.

But now that the source has been identified, there’s still a question of trust as state and federal agencies once gave conflicting information on PFOA.

“Which one do you trust the most, and who do you believe?” Hickey questioned.

The Hoosick Falls Central School District is having an emergency press conference Friday morning about the water situation in the village.

Saint-Gobain released the following statement in response to the DEC’s accusations:

“We received a letter from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) this afternoon, which identifies Saint-Gobain as one of the parties potentially responsible for the existence of PFOA in the Hoosick Falls, NY, water.  As we’ve done from the first time we were notified about PFOA in Hoosick Falls in December 2014, we will continue to cooperate with all parties involved.

This letter does not alter Saint-Gobain’s desire to work cooperatively with all parties in identifying and implementing solutions to resolve this matter including our voluntarily funding the distribution of bottled water, funding the installation of a temporary water filtration system which should be online next week and funding a long-term water filtration system expected to be in place by October.

Having taken part on Tuesday in a two-hour meeting that we requested with the DEC, as well as the New York Department of Health and Region 2 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, we hope that our commitment to resolving this issue in a thoughtful, efficient and open way remains both clear and shared by all parties. “

Dina Silver Pokedoff, APR
Senior Manager, Branding and Communication
Saint-Gobain Corporation

Honeywell responded with a letter saying they would provide help with private wells for people in Hoosick Falls: Honeywell response to Hoosick Falls water contamination

 

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