POESTENKILL, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Wednesday, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the State Department of Health, and the Rensselaer County Health Department held an informational meeting at Algonquin Middle School in Poestenkill to teach locals about PFAS—contaminants known to cause potential health problems.
PFAS was first discovered at Algonquin Middle School back in January. Since then, the DEC has been working to find the source of contamination. Out of 77 wells tested, 13 have come back with levels of PFAS contaminates higher than the state standard.
“We’ve taken actual samples on the school property to better understand water flow underneath it, where the contamination will be coming from, where it might be migrating to, and that may pinpoint where else we may need to look,” explained Sean Mahar, Chief of Staff for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Mahar said manufacturing facilities near the school are being focused on, as well as other companies located further away, such as Dynamic Systems and Saint-Gobain.
“We have taken additional data at the Poestenkill landfill, which is a little far removed, what’s considered downgradient from the school meaning water isn’t flowing in this direction, it’s flowing in this direction. And we know that this probably isn’t the source, and the data we gotten back was below the MLC we got for detection. It’s not considered a source right now,” said Mahar.
Poestenkill’s Town Supervisor, Keith Hammond said plans are being made to expand the municipal water district.
“From Snyder’s Corners on to the intersection of Old Route 66 to 66 where the town line of Sand Lake and Poestenkill merge and if we run that line down there, it will take care of all of Algonquin estates and all of Heather ridge and Vosburg where there have been the PFOA hits and really that’s the answer to this is to get people municipal water,” said Keith Hammond, Poestenkill Town supervisor.
He said this project will take a little over a year to complete with the town’s initial expense being $30,000. COVID relief money will help pay for this, and the town also is applying for grant money. At this point, it’s unclear how many additional homes will be hooked up to the municipal water.
“You don’t have to hook into it,” said Hammond. “You only have to hook into it if you want to.”
Some residents are calling on the New York State Department of Health to pay for blood testing. DOH tonight releasing a statement saying, “ DOH is available to discuss the potential utility and limitations of biomonitoring with interested residents and officials”
Gary Ginsburg, who directs the DOH’s Center of Environmental Health, said, “Right now, the blood testing program we have, it does not cost the individual anything. If it’s determined that a blood test is going to be done, it has to be through a doctor’s order.”