Hoosick Falls, NY residents will get rebate on water bills

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HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. — Efforts to bring residents clean water are moving ahead, but they can't drink from the village tap just yet.

Tests were unable to detect a man-made chemical in the water after it passed through a new filtration system at the water treatment plant, officials say.

Residents are still being told to not drink the tap water until notified otherwise. But in the meantime, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastic and Honeywell will pay to deliver bottled water to the homes of impacted residents.

And residents angered over the idea of being charged for running their homes' faucets to flush PFOA from their pipes may get a bit of a reprieve: A rebate on their water bills.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo made the announcements during a visit to the village this past weekend.

It was the first time he visited the small village in Rensallaer County. Federal officials, since November, have been telling the 4,900 customers on the village's water system to not drink or cook with the water.

"The state continues to take aggressive action to protect the health and safety of Hoosick Falls residents," Cuomo said in prepared remarks. "We have made good progress with PFOA no longer detected in the village's water filtration system, and we continue to work diligently to address residual contamination."

Saint-Gobain is paying for the "temporary" carbon filtration system at the treatment plant. A "permanent" filter is expected to be completed by October. Both are being installed at an estimated cost of $2 million.

Officials have said the filters will remove PFOA "below detectable levels." Scientists have said the current test for PFOA cannot detect levels below 2 parts per trillion (ppt).

The state Department of Health has tested 464 private wells for PFOA since January, according to the department. Of those, 199 had levels below 2 ppt; 164 had levels between 2 and 50 ppt; and 42 had levels between 50 and 100 ppt.

A total of 59 wells had PFOA over 100 ppt; the department didn't indicate how high the levels reached.

Village residents have long called for a way to be compensated on their water bills — they have been told not to drink or cook with their water and have also been instructed to flush their home's water pipes.

Village officials went to the state to find ways to compensate residents on their water bills. Cuomo announced that residents will receive a rebate covering six months of water bill payments, a total of about $240,000.

"New York State intends to seek reimbursement for the costs of the rebate program from Saint-Gobain and Honeywell," a notice on the village website states. "The process by which residents will receive their rebates are being developed now."

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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