PFOA working group forming in Hoosick area

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HOOSICK FALLS, NY — The town of Hoosick and village of Hoosick Falls are forming a working group of residents and business owners to participate in discussions on pending Superfund cleanup work at PFOA-contaminated sites.

Hoosick Town Supervisor Mark Surdam and village Mayor Robert Allen outlined the plan in a progress report on engaging community input on remediation of the Hoosick Falls contamination sites.

They said The Paige Group, an independent, third-party facilitator, has been engaged to help form and manage what will be called the Hoosick Area Community Participation Work Group. A central New York-based consulting firm said it hopes to convene a diverse group of community members and business owners interested in participating in the process.

The group will provide a forum for the greater Hoosick Falls community to receive progress reports on PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) cleanup work and options for the municipal water supply.

The areas declared state Superfund contamination sites include Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics on McCaffrey Street, the former Oak Materials on John Street, Saint-Gobain on Liberty Street, the Hoosick Falls landfill site and the Alexander Schmigel property.

Investigative work also is being performed at potential Superfund sites, which include Oak Materials on River Road; Interface Solutions, former Dodge Machine and Allied-Signal Laminate Systems sites on Mechanic Street.

"The [group] is designed to provide local residents with a voice and encourage discussion about the Hoosick area state Superfund sites and related water quality projects," Surdam said in a media release.

"The group will not serve as a decision-making body," Allen said, "but will make important recommendations and provide relevant community input regarding community concerns and perceptions as the remedial projects are being performed. It will also fulfill the critical role of communicating with residents and the public regarding the technical aspects of the remedial activities and public health implications."

Group participants will be expected to attend monthly meetings facilitated by The Paige Group, stakeholder engagement specialists who were selected through a New York Department of Environmental Conservation request for proposal process.

Residents, community and business leaders and other stakeholders interested in participating in this group should submit a one-page letter of interest and include the following information: name, address, email, and phone number.

Also state reasons for interest in participating on the group, particular topics of interests, other information or qualifications, such as areas of expertise, as well as any potential conflict of interest.

Catherine Manion, public relations manager with The Paige Group, said the community group is expected to have 15 to 20 members.

Members will be selected based on areas of interest and qualifications to help ensure broad representation of community needs and interests. Following the selection process, member profiles will be posted on the town and village websites.

Interested community members should submit a letter of interest to:

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Hoosick Community Participation Work Group

Care of The Paige Group

258 Genesee St., Suite 204

Utica, NY 13502

Or send via email to info@paigegroup.com.

Letters of interest will be accepted through May 17.

More information is available at the town and village websites: townofhoosick.org and villageofhoosickfalls.com

Remediation project

According to a recent state DEC fact sheet, Saint-Gobain and Honeywell International, the identified responsible parties for the PFOA contamination, will soon begin interim remedial work at one location — the Saint-Gobain site at 14 McCaffrey St. in Hoosick Falls.

That will involve environmental cleanup at the 6.41-acre industrial parcel, and efforts to prevent continued migration of PFOA from the site toward the Hoosick Falls water system well field.

Aspects of the project include fabricating and installing a system for intercepting, capturing and treating contaminated water near the site boundary.

The industrial facility was built in 1961, according to the DEC release, and has been used by a number of corporate owners manufacturing a variety of products, some of which utilized Teflon. PFOA was used in the manufacture of Teflon.

The factory was built in for Dodge Fibers Corp. Oak Industries/Oak Materials Group operated the facility from about 1970 until 1987, when it was acquired by AlliedSignal Laminate Systems Inc., a predecessor company to Honeywell. Saint-Gobain has operated at the site since 1999.

The current project is considered an interim step taken in advance of determining the full nature and extent of the PFOA contamination at the site.

Jim Therrien writes for New England Newspapers in Southern Vermont, including the Bennington Banner, Brattleboro Reformer and Manchester Journal. Twitter: @BB_therrien


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