Settlement: Honeywell, Saint-Gobain would pay $1 million to Hoosick Falls for PFOA contamination

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HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. — Two companies would pay about $1 million to the village under a revised settlement reached over drinking water contaminated with PFOA.

The municipality would receive $1.045 million from multinational companies Honeywell International and Saint-Gobain for out-of-pocket expenses related to the discovery of the toxic, man-made chemical. Village trustees will consider the proposed settlement at a board meeting on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the HAYC3 Armory.

An $850,000 agreement had already been discussed. It was met with much criticism during a public meeting with residents last month; trustees tabled it and said that village and company attorneys would meet again.

"The agreement has been revised to ensure the village retains its right to pursue any other claims," a press release issued Wednesday evening states. That includes contamination at the village-owned landfill.

The agreement still includes a provision that the village would agree to not file claims against the companies for damages to the existing municipal water system's three wells and infrastructure.

In a statement, Mayor David Borge said the village's attorneys "worked very hard with the companies on this unprecedented agreement and we appreciate their effort to work with us and resolve outstanding issues."

"Our priority from the beginning has been to ensure residents do not bear the brunt of a situation they didn't create," he said.

Both companies signed state consent orders last June that hold them responsible for contamination from PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid. The man-made chemical was used in local factories for decades when making the non-stick coating Teflon. It's discovery in the municipal water system led the EPA to tell residents in late 2015 not to drink the water for several months and raised public health and safety concerns.

Village officials have said they must pay engineering, legal and public relations consultants.

The press release issued on Wednesday says that the revised settlement "provides an additional $153,000 for the village to use at its discretion."

"In return, the village agrees not to sue either or both companies for their potential role in contaminating three existing wells with PFOA and their associated water delivery apparatus in their current configuration at the existing water treatment plant," it states.

According to the release, the revised agreement would give the village the right to file claims for costs associated with: New wells and related equipment, alternative water sources extensions or additions to the existing municipal water supply system, pollution from contaminants other than PFOA, and diminished property values.

Also covered would be costs of "responding to PFOA contamination other than in, and associated with, the village's current municipal water supply system."

That includes contamination "at or emanating from the village-owned landfill," the release states.

Reach staff writer Edward Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111 or @edamon_banner.


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