COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Friday, New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation announced an initiative to find out if contaminants are present in communities near the Norlite Hazardous Waste Facility. The state is responding to community concerns over past practices at the facility with new, comprehensive, and science-based soil and water sampling.
“The sampling plan will collect essential data to guide future actions and will be valuable to both DEC and the community in the agency’s rigorous review of Norlite’s proposed permit renewal.” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “The sampling plan will collect essential data to guide future actions and will be valuable to both DEC and the community in the agency’s rigorous review of Norlite’s proposed permit renewal.”
The DEC and the Department of Health will collect samples from upwind, downwind, downstream, upstream, and background locations to study trends in and contaminants.
Norlite notoriously attempted to dispose of firefighting foam, also called aqueous film-forming foam or AFFF, by incinerating it. This practice apparently did not destroy toxic elements within the firefighting foam—specifically per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS—but spread them through the nearby environment, instead.
PFAS in area soil and water have already been found in samples collected by Bennington College. However, the DEC says those samples were “flawed and incomplete,” and did not show a pattern of contamination. The DEC’s own sampling of the Cohoes and Green Island municipal water supply showed no impact on area drinking water since Norlite began burning AFFF.