HOOSICK FALLS, NY — A project initially intended to protect the school's water supply from a man-made chemical will also remove a naturally occurring element, officials say.
The state-funded project for the Hoosick Falls Central School District now includes a filter to remove arsenic that comes from bedrock, according to a state Department of Environmental Conservation spokesperson.
The arsenic filter is expected to be delivered on Thursday, according to DEC. The full system should be online and ready for testing next week. The cost of the complete system is approximately $250,000.
Officials say the water at the Route 22 campus is still safe to drink. PFOA has not been detected in the school's water supply and testing found that arsenic levels still fall below the limit. According to the school's website, tests found water samples had .0091 milligrams of arsenic per liter of water. The maximum amount of arsenic the EPA allows in public drinking water supplies is .010 mg/L.
Perfluorooctanoic acid, a chemical once used to make Teflon, turned up in the municipal water supply serving the village and in private wells. It's been linked to cancer and other diseases. The regional EPA office issued a no-drink order in November. In response, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo rolled out an "action plan" in late January in which the state said it would install filters at the school and other public places, among other initiatives.
The granulated activated carbon (GAC) filter was designed by Arcadis Design and Consultancy. The school closed for two days in March around Easter while Rozell Industries, Inc. installed it. The school district's website describes it as a "proactive, preemptive measure to ensure that water on the campus remains free of PFOA." Though installed, the GAC filter is not yet online.
The area groundwater has a high level of naturally occurring arsenic, according to the school's website and DEC. After testing water this spring, the DEC decided to wait to install an arsenic filter until after Friday's graduation, because the school water must turned off.
The cost of the filter is expected to be among those covered by two consent orders between the DEC and responsible parties — Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International.
Regular testing continues to not detect PFOA. But PFOA was detected about two miles north in the water source serving the district's school bus garage.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979