POESTENKILL, N.Y. (NEWS10) – PFOA and PFAS have been detected in several wells in Poestenkill, including Algonquin Middle School. PFOA was originally found in the middle school in January 2021. However, officials have yet to find a source for the contamination.

Poestenkill Town Councilmember Eric Wohlleber said the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is no closer to finding the source of the contamination than they were a year ago.

Wohlleber is calling on the DEC and New York State Department of Health (DOH) to provide a list of potential sources of the contamination that will include a plan of suggestions provided by the residents of Poestenkill, to dig monitoring wells along with testing results.

“We must find the source of the contamination, identify the area which is impacted and begin the remediation process, as soon as possible,” said Wohlleber. “At the current pace, NYSDEC and NYSDOH show no eagerness to seriously identify the source, and have not shared a plan which will set residents’ concerns at ease that the necessary steps are being taken.”

In one-year NYSDEC has conducted:

  • 77 tests of private wells
  • 13 tests have come back above state safety standards (17%)
  • 45 tests have come back with measurable PFOA/PFAS levels (58%)

“In one-year, our residents have witnessed a lackadaisical effort by the NYSDEC and NYSDOH to ensure we have safe drinking water. Our residents are not asking for special treatment, just the same support, and urgency which was given to our neighbors in Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh,” said Wohlleber.

NEWS10 reached out to DOH and DEC for comment. According to DOH, the levels of exposure to PFOA from drinking water in the Poestenkill area are much lower than what occurred in the past in the Hoosick area. Erin Silk, NYSDOH department spokesperson, said:

“NYSDOH is aware there may be community members interested in blood testing for PFAS exposures in Poestenkill. DOH is available to discuss the potential utility and limitations of biomonitoring with interested residents and officials.”

The DEC said they have taken immediate action to address PFAS in Poestenkill and are thoroughly investigating any potential sources for the contamination.

“Responding to drinking water contamination in Poestenkill, or any community in New York, is always a top priority for the State. We have been on the ground in this community since the contamination was first detected at Algonquin Middle School to immediately address any potential exposure to PFAS contamination and protect public health. In the year since, our experts are working directly with the county and the town in a coordinated, science-based approach to investigate this issue and take action. We have extensive investigative work underway in this community to evaluate any potential sources of groundwater contamination in the vicinity of the Middle School , and have already preliminarily ruled out several potential sources including the transfer station and Poestenkill landfill. We look forward to continuing to keep residents and officials informed throughout the process.”

DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner Sean Mahar

More information on the DEC’s actions in Poestenkill can be found on the DEC website.