HOOSICK FALLS >> With local athletic fields determined to pose no health risks, environmental officials will soon test soil near a factory suspected of being the source of contamination of village water sources with a suspected cancer-causing chemical.
Tests on soil taken from the village athletic fields found low levels of perfluorooctanoic acid, state and federal agencies announced Monday, and those sites will not require remediation.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency, or possibly a party deemed potentially responsible for the contamination, will test soil, groundwater and storm drains at the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility on McCaffrey Street, 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 departments of Environmental Conservation and Health, took soil samples from the athletic fields in February as part of its investigation into the PFOA contamination. The man-made chemical was used to make Teflon and has largely been phased out, but has been found in what officials say are dangerously high levels in numerous private wells, as well as wells that supplied the village’s water system.
About 60 samples were taken from ballfields on Waterworks Road and the Hoosick Falls Athletic Field on Barton Avenue. PFOA levels ranged from below detectable to 0.021 parts per million. The EPA’s “action level” for PFOA is currently 15.6 ppm, according to the agency. Contaminants related to PFOA, volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls and metals were not detected or found to be 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 the Saint-Gobain plant at 14 McCaffrey St. — which was built in 1962 by Dodge Fibers and acquired by the French multinational company in 1999 — to determine if past industrial activities led to PFOA being released into the soil. About 30 samples will be taken, the majority from the first foot of soil, but some will also reach down into the water table.
About 20 samples will come from a dozen residential properties on Carey Avenue between its western end and Waterworks Road. Another five samples will come from a swamp southeast of Saint-Gobain, and nine more 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, while 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 the Saint-Gobain plant and will also test soil and water from storm drains, manholes and the sewage ejector pit at the site.