Hoosick Falls Trustees to consider interim settlement with Saint-Gobain, Honeywell

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HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. — The Board of Trustees will consider tonight a new, $255,000 interim settlement agreement with Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International, which have been designated responsible parties in toxic chemical contamination in the village.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. at the municipal building at 24 Main St.

The interim agreement includes $185,000 for past costs the village took on as a result of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) contamination, through April 30, 2019. The agreement also includes $70,000 in anticipated costs related to the operation and maintenance of the granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration system for the current fiscal year, according to a June 18 press release posted on the village's website.

Like previous interim settlement agreements, this will maintain the village's legal rights going forward, according to the release.

"This agreement is another small but important step forward as we work to make the village whole," said Robert Allen, mayor of Hoosick Falls, in the press release. "Not only does this reimburse the village for more of the previous financial burden it had to bear, but it also addresses anticipated costs related to the daily costs of operating the filtration system, something the village began taking on when the system came online in late 2016. Most importantly, we still maintain our legal rights; in short, the village's costs are covered and the village maintains its claims for damages against the companies."

The filtration system is in place at the village's water treatment plant to treat PFOA contamination present in the village water supply.

The village has been concerned with the group of toxic, man-made chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), since late 2014, when PFOA was detected at levels higher than the recommended Environmental Protection Agency advisory level in public drinking water supply wells in Hoosick Falls.

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PFOA was widely used for decades to manufacture products like Teflon, which in turn was used to coat wire, cookware, tapes and fabric. In early 2016, a temporary filtration system was installed to remove PFOA from the village's municipal water supply system; a permanent filtration system has been active since early 2017.

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International, two companies with current or former industrial operations in the village, have been designated responsible parties for contamination of the town's water with PFOA.

The village will also be extending the previous tolling agreement another five months, to October 2019, according to the release.

"There is still more work and more investigation that needs to be done to understand the full effects of the PFOA contamination," Allen said in the release.

A major part of the village's recovery is the expected release of an Alternate Water Supply Study, anticipated in July.

This report will list all available options for the village's long-term water supply, according to the release.

"This is a big part of understanding where Hoosick Falls will be with water five, fifty and a hundred years from now," Allen said in the release.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at pleboeuf@benningtonbanner.com, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.


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