NYS: Hoosick Falls water safe to drink, cook with

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Department of Health has announced that the water in Hoosick Falls is safe for all uses, including drinking and cooking.

According to the DOH, testing of the village’s municipal water system has no detection of the chemical PFOA. Commission of the NYSDOH Dr. Howard Zucker sent a letter to Hoosick Falls Mayor David Borge informing him the temporary filtration system had effectively removed PFOA from the village drinking water, and the “no-drink” advisory had been lifted.

The department announced the water tested with PFOA levels around two parts per trillion.

Residents with questions or concerns should contact the Hoosick Falls water hotline at 1-800-801-8092 to speak with a DOH representative.

To view the letter from Dr. Zucker officially lifting the state’s health advisory, click here.

“My reaction was absolutely ecstatic,” Borge said. “This is great news for the community. Just to give you an idea: one ppt is three seconds out of the next 100,000 years.”

RELATED: Mayor David Borge statement about Hoosick Falls water now safe to use

The clean water is at least in part thanks to Michael Hickey.

“It’s a big step; don’t get me wrong,” he said. “And I’m very happy about that, but there was a lot of things that go along with a problem like this.”

Hickey is the whistleblower who began digging into PFOA contamination after his factory-worker father died of cancer. Despite the drinking ban lifted, he said trust with the state and village is broken, and rebuilding it will take time.

“I think people are still going to be pretty hesitant just by the way this all occurred,” he said. “Really being questionable the whole time.”

Some village residents said they won’t ever drink the water again.

“I don’t believe it’s safe,” resident William Dooley said. “I mean, if somebody lied to you before, what’s the chances of them lying again.”

Dooley has lived in the village his entire life and believes officials were not forthcoming when they first knew of the contamination.

“Who knows what’s good for you and what isn’t,” he said. “Do they sit down and drink a whole bunch of PFOAs at a desk? I don’t think so. Just because you feed it to a lab rat that weighs ounces compared to a person that weighs 200 pounds is a big difference.”

The water crisis has cast a shadow over the mayor and other village officials and the state, who many said weren’t forthcoming about the contamination. Borge maintains that what some called a slow response to the contamination had to do with the lack of knowledge about the chemical.

“We were the first community in New York State to be proactive in moving forward,” he said. “We’re learning a lot, and we’ve learned a lot.”

But Borge also said he understands people’s hesitations.

“Well, I think it’s going to take a little time for people to build up some confidence,” he said. “I get that. I understand that. That’s why the [bottled] water is going to be offered at least through October.”

Reaction around the village is varied. Resident Marilyn Tate said she will drink the water again.

“I’m not really worried; I have to be honest with you,” she said.

“Now we’re going to have the cleanest water in the great Northeast,” Borge said. “No doubt.”

New York State has implemented a plan to address PFOA contamination in the Hoosick Falls area, which includes:

  • Overseeing the installation of a temporary municipal filtration system;
  • Committing up to $10 million to install hundreds of private residential water filtration systems;
  • Testing nearly 750 water samples from private and public wells since January 27, 2016
  • Conducting a comprehensive blood testing program for residents;
  • Working to identify an alternate permanent drinking water source; and
  • Establishing a local command center with nearly 100 full-time state officials

The state has also identified Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International as parties responsible for the PFOA contamination in the village of Hoosick Falls and the town of Hoosick. Both companies are responsible for the costs of providing safe drinking water to residents and fixing the contamination.

The village filtration system is temporary. A permanent one will be built and is expected to be up and running by October.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s