Documents reveal PFOA air pollution issue at Saint-Gobain New Hampshire plant

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – According to public documents, in October of 2004, Saint Gobain met with the New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services regarding air pollution of the toxic chemical PFOA at it’s Merrimack facility.

As a result, the documents say Saint Gobain agreed to install a wet scrubber filtration system that same year, promised to reduce PFOA in the following years and “to work to eliminate PFOA by 2015.”

During that entire time, Saint Gobain was operating a plant in on McCaffrey Street in Hoosick. The same plant at the center of the PFOA water contamination in the village.

The question NEWS10 ABC wants to know is whether the EPA in New Hampshire notified New York of the PFOA problem at the Merrimack plant or did Saint Gobain tell its Hoosick Falls facility.

A New Hampshire consent agreement letter was addressed to Saint Gobain’s Manager of Health, Safety, and Environment Edward Canning. He was also listed in recent correspondence emails with former Hoosick Falls Mayor Dave Borge.

On Wednesday, Saint Gobain released this statement to NEWS10 ABC:

Saint Gobain never manufactured PFOA. The company purchases PTFE from third party vendors. In the past, these suppliers manufactured PTFE using PFOA as a processing aid. These suppliers were required to phase out PFOA by 2015.”

Saint Gobain did not answer our questions on whether it notified the Hoosick Falls facility back in 2004.

Last February, Saint Gobain CEO Tom Kinisky had this to say when asked why Saint Gobain didn’t communicate to the village of Hoosick Falls that the company would be phasing out its use of PFOA by 2015.

“The way that we deal with our materials at our site, we didn’t suspect that there was ever an issue that might get it into the water, but that’s us,” Kinisky said. “That’s not what happened here before, and that’s what we now have to deal with.”

Former EPA region two administrator Judith Enk says she was not in office in 2004 but said there is no legal obligation for EPA regions to communicate this information to each other.

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