Some in Petersburgh feel neglected by NYS regarding water issue

PETERSBURGH, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Rensselaer County officials presented a map of PFOA well testing at a board meeting in Petersburgh on Friday, but many people have questions that are being directed to the state.

People in the town are starting to feel forgotten about by state officials who have, yet, to hold a meeting in the town.

But in the state of Vermont, a fact sheet was handed out at a meeting regarding PFOA contamination on Wednesday.  The sheet included information about livestock, which is a concern for people in Petersburgh.

“Mind boggling,” Petersburgh resident Emily Marpe said.

Of the 50 private wells tested for PFOA in Petersburgh, Marpe’s had the highest level of 2,100 parts per trillion. That’s 21 times higher than what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers safe.

It’s also higher than all levels found in the Hoosick Falls water supply.

“We still have children,” Marpe said. “We still have fears and concerns.”

But at Friday’s board meeting, only the Rensselaer County Department of Health was there. And Marpe couldn’t help but feel neglected by her own state after seeing how helpful meetings in Vermont have been.

“When your governor comes and comments on the color of a tank that’s providing you with a basic necessity of life,” she said.

The Rensselaer County Department of Health is doing all the well testing in Petersburgh. It has taken 33 additional samples since February.

“If we’re finding higher results and finding higher detections, we will expand the testing area,” Deputy County Executive Chris Meyer said. “As the results come in, we’re going to expand on where the results show where we need to test more.”

But the wait for answers from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation or New York State Department of Health officials is becoming too tough for people in Petersburgh.

“It’s hard,” Marpe said. “It’s hard because right now my family is my top priority.”

The county said it will begin installing carbon filters next week into homes with wells that showed PFOA levels higher than 100 ppt.


DEC and local officials are working to determine the extent of the contamination in the Town of Petersburgh, which will include soil sampling.

DEC secured an agreement with Taconic Plastics to install POETS on affected homes and Taconic’s contractor will begin to install these systems on the homes with the highest levels next week.

The State is working with local partners to ensure that the systems comply with all applicable state standards to ensure water is acceptable for all uses for the residents of Petersburgh. Additionally, the Department of Health is currently working with the Town of Petersburgh and Rensselaer County Health Department on the specifications and design of the municipal water filtration system to best treat PFOA contamination.

Governor’s office, DEC and DOH officials have been Petersburgh twice previously, once when the first test result came back and we started bottled water and then again on Feb. 26 to talk to local officials. DEC tells us they plan to return to Petersburgh to provide an update to town officials soon.

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