HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. >> A local solar developer has launched an online crowdsourcing campaign to help victims of local water contamination.
Monolith Solar aims to raise $1 million for those affected by the water issue and live in the village and town of Hoosick. The company said those funds will help cover any expenses that stand in the way of residents having clean and safe water.
The Rensaelaer County based business jump started the campaign last week with a $20,000 contribution. As of Monday evening, the effort garnered $21,961 in donations from 28 people on a GoFundMe online fundraising page: www.gofundme.com/hfwatersafety.
"This is something we feel is so important, not only cause it's a terrible thing to have happen, but the community has always been such a strong supporter of our business," Tim Carr, key account manager with Monolith, told the Banner Friday.
Carr said 100 percent of all donations will go to well water testing, plumbing upgrades, and any other means to identify and remedy unsafe water. The company will work with the village to identify individuals in need and to distribute the funds. He said the company has an email address to which residents can write to.
The company's $20,000 donation, he said, was made in the "recognition of the tremendous community support" from the village, where Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, or C8) has been found in the water supply at levels higher than the EPA's limit.
The man-made chemical, once used to make nonstick coating and to insulate wires, among other industrial applications, has been linked to causing cancer. In November, the EPA cautioned the water system's 4,900 users to limit bathing and to not drink or cook with the water. Private well owners are being encouraged to have their own water tested.
Officials say a full investigation will determine how long PFOA has been in the water supply how it got there.
Last month, two properties now owned by the Saint-Gobain Corporation were added to the state Superfund list and PFOA was declared a hazardous substance. Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics will pay some $2 million for upgrades to the water treatment plant. A "temporary" system is expected to be completed by the end of the month and a long-term filter in October.
"Our heart goes out to all of the Village's residents," Steve Erby, the Rensselaer-based company's vice president, said in a news release. "Our goal is that the launch of this GoFundMe campaign will allow new resources to become available to any and all residents who have been impacted by this unfortunate situation."
The village of fewer than 4,000 residents was one of Monolith's first customers when Erby and others founded it eight years ago in a local garage, according to Carr. Since then, the company has been involved with the solar arrays at the village's capped landfill, municipal building and other local sites.
"We wouldn't be were we are today without the village's support," Carr said.
Village residents who wish to have their well tested are asked to sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.monolithsolar.com or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/monolithsolar