HOOSICK FALLS, NY>> The Hoosick Falls Central School will be closed for two days later this month as crews install a filtration system that aims to keep the water supply safe from contamination.
School officials say it's a preventive measure — results from regular testing shows the campus' water system does not contain the same man-made chemical found in the village water system and some private wells.
The Pre-K to Grade 12 district will be closed on Thursday, March 24 and again on Monday, March 28. The school was already not going to open on March 25 for Good Friday.
"Installation of the filter requires that the water be shut off in the building, and as a result, we will not be able to operate as normal," according to a statement released by the district Friday.
The filtration system was designed by design and consulting firm Arcadis, which has an office in Clifton Park. The construction contract was awarded to Rozell Industries, Inc. and the Queensbury-based firm will install it. The total cost of the system is $162,800, according to a spokesperson for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
The state said in January that it would pay to install the granulated activated carbon (GAC) filtration system as part of an ongoing effort to address contamination from PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid).
In addition to the school, 13 businesses have either been provided, or are scheduled to receive a point-of-entry treatment (POET) water system. The total cost of all the filters to be installed has not yet been determined, the DEC spokesperson said.
The district hasn't taken any snow days this year. Taking days off in March "fits better with educational goals and prevents as much disruption of the school schedule in May...This provides more classroom time for students to prepare for Regents exams," officials said in the statement.
District officials plan on holding an open house once the filter is installed.
Water in Hoosick Falls, N.Y. has high levels of PFOA, formerly used to make the nonstick coating Teflon for decades. It's been linked to cause cancer and many scientists are calling for a lower limit allowed in drinking water. It's since been discovered in Petersburgh, N.Y. and North Bennington, Vt.
The system at the school is one piece of an "action plan" Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo rolled out in late January, in which the state committed to installing filters at the local school and other public places. The plan also classified PFOA as a hazardous substance and declared Saint-Gobain's Liberty and McCaffrey Street facilities as state Superfund sites.
PFOA hasn't been found in water from the school district's wells.
"These actions will insure we always have clean, healthy, safe drinking water for our students," the administration said in its statement. "We will continue to test the raw water going into the filter, as well as filtered water heading out of the filter into our school water system. This testing will be on a regular basis, and we will be transparent and swift in sharing those results."
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979