EPA: Hoosick Falls playing fields safe for use


HOOSICK FALLS, NY — With local athletic fields determined to not pose a heath risk, environmental officials will soon test soil near a factory suspected of being the source of PFOA contamination.

Tests on soil taken from the village ballfields and athletic fields found low levels of PFOA, state and federal agencies announced Monday, and those sites will not require remediation.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), or possibly a party deemed potentially responsible for the contamination, will test soil, groundwater and storm drains at Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics' McCaffrey Street facility, in addition to soil in a nearby swamp and on some nearby residential properties.

The results and the additional tests were announced in two community updates issued by the EPA.

The EPA, in conjunction with the state's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Health (DOH), took soil samples from the local ballfields and athletic fields in February for an investigation into contamination from PFOA, or Perfluorooctanoic acid. The man-made chemical was used to make Teflon and has largely been phased out, but has been found in numerous private wells.

About 60 samples were taken from the ballfields on Waterworks Road and the Hoosick Falls Athletic Field on Barton Avenue. Most were taken from the upper 3 inches and from a depth of 3 to 12 inches below the surface. Several were taken from between 1.5 and 20 feet below ground.

PFOA levels ranged from below detectable levels to .021 parts per million (ppm). The EPA's "action level" for PFOA is currently 15.6 ppm, according to the information released Monday. Contaminants related to PFOA, volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and metals were not detected or found below action levels.

"Based on the data, the EPA does not plan any further actions," the community update stated. "The EPA does not see a need for any closure or restriction of any of the fields, which were thoroughly sampled. Therefore, additional investigation is not needed in any of the areas sampled. EPA considers the soil at the fields to be acceptable for recreational use."

Additional testing will begin this spring around 14 McCaffrey St., which was built in 1962 by Dodge Fibers and acquired by French multinational company Saint-Gobain in 1999, to determine whether past industrial activities led to PFOA being released into the soil.

A total of about 30 samples will be taken. The majority will be from the first foot of soil, but some will reach down to the water table. About 20 samples will come from a dozen residential properties on Carey Avenue between Waterworks Road and the west end of Carey Avenue. Another five samples will come from a swamp southeast of Saint-Gobain and another nine will come from the football field and picnic area at the end of Waterworks Road.

Results are expected two weeks after samples are taken. Results from residences will be shared with the homeowner; results from the swamp, the football field and picnic area will be made public.

Additional tests will be done this spring to determine if the McCaffrey Street site is eligible for the federal Superfund program. The EPA will test water from nine groundwater monitoring wells within a half-mile of Saint-Gobain. The EPA will also test soil and water from storm drains, manholes and the sewage ejector pit at the McCaffrey Street site.

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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