PETERSBURGH, N.Y. — Residents were expecting to get more from health officials. Instead of waiting for answers, two women are taking things into their own hands.
“Things take time, and I would love to have this all go away tomorrow,” said Petersburgh Town Supervisor Peter Schaaphok, “but it’s not. It’s going to be a situation that we work through for quite some time.”
That’s more time than neighbors in Petersburgh have the patience for. Now they want answers.
Dozens piled in to the Petersburgh Veterans Memorial Community Center to hear from state officials for the first time since learning their water is contaminated with the man-made chemical PFOA.
So far, 158 water samples have been collected.
“It is a man-made chemical,” said Emily Marpe. “It does not belong in my well at all.”
According to the EPA, the chemical has been linked to cancer and thyroid issues. Marpe’s water tested at one of the highest — 21 times over the federal limit.
A carbon filter has been installed at her house since she first learned about the contamination. But that will have to be reinstalled after a new recommendation from the state.
“I’ll never drink the water again,” Marpe said. “I won’t. I won’t trust it.”
Unlike Emily, Mandy Niegoda’s water tested positive for PFOS. After attending a meeting last month, she came to Tuesday nights meeting hoping to learn what that even is, and if she can get a filter installed.
“I’ve got no information from anybody here. No communication at all,” Niegoda said.
Instead of waiting, the two mothers sought those answers themselves, and shared them with neighbors when they come to pick up gallons of water at town hall — water provided by Taconic Plastics, believed to be the source of the contaminant.
“We passed out the information to residents coming in, and we had two petitions there,” Niegoda said. “One for water delivery and another petition to have blood work done.
The Department of Health will ofer blood sampling and monitoring, and the women hope it isn’t too late for the next generation.
“I don’t like the fact that I’ve been drinking contaminated water forever, nd that my kids have been drinking it,” Marpe said. “I’m mad.”