HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. >> Tests indicate a treatment system is removing nearly all of the potentially harmful chemical PFOA from the village's municipal water system — but you can't drink from the tap just yet.
The filtration system on the water treatment plant is removing PFOA to non-detectable levels, according to the state Department of Health. It comes after the village flushed the water mains and residents were directed on how to flush pipes and faucets in their own residences.
"The EPA's recommendation that residents refrain from using municipal water for drinking or cooking remains in effect," a post on the village website states.
The state has advanced its Superfund investigation and begun sampling soil, including soil of farms, gardens and other sites.
Of 10 samples from the municipal water system taken by the DOH this week, seven showed a "non-detect" below 2 parts per trillion (ppt). The remaining three samples were under 5 ppt.
Federal and state health and environmental officials say residents should not drink or cook with the tap water until it's deemed safe for all uses.
Residents are still being provided bottled water by Saint-Gobain, whose McCaffrey Street factory is the suspected source of contamination. The company is also paying for the granulated activated carbon (GAC) filtration system on the municipal water system, which is now operational, as well as a larger, "longer-term" filter set to be completed by October.
Progress has also been made on installing individual point-of-entry treatment (POET) filtration systems for homes with private wells, with 441 installed so far, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation.
The DEC reported it has received 768 requests for POETs, with 112 received within the past week, and that it has performed 681 pre-evaluations, which are necessary prior to a system's installation. Of those, 112 pre-evaluations were completed over the past week.
The DOH tested 188 public and private wells between March 11 and March 20. Of those, 102 were below 2 ppt; 59 were between 2 and 50 ppt; 18 were between 50 and 100 ppt; and 9 were at or above 100 ppt.
Since January 27, 652 public and private wells have been tested. Of those results, 301 were below 2 ppt; 223 were between 2 and 50 ppt; 60 were between 50 and 100 ppt; and 68 were 100 ppt or above.
Saint-Gobain's sites on McCaffrey and Liberty streets have been declared state Superfund sites.
The DEC says it began sampling soil to determine how far PFOA contamination has spread. The agency will work with DOH and the state Department of Agriculture and Markets to study soils that may have been impacted by contaminated water. Additional sampling will include certain agricultural lands, gardens and other sites.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979