The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics site in the Village of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., to its Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) of the country's most hazardous waste sites. Groundwater at the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility, located at 14 McCaffrey Street, and in other locations in Hoosick Falls, is contaminated with Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Trichloroethylene (TCE). Adding the site to the federal Superfund list will allow EPA to work with New York State to ensure that the contamination is cleaned up and that people’s health is protected.
“My goal as administrator is to restore the Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the agency’s core mission. Today, we are adding sites to the Superfund National Priorities List to ensure they are cleaned up for the benefit of these communities,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, “When we clean up these sites, we make communities healthier places to live and clear the way for development and increased economic activity.”
The McCaffrey Street facility was built in 1961, and had been used to manufacture circuit board laminates, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)-coated fiberglass and other PTFE products. In 1999, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics purchased the facility and began operations there, using PFOA in its manufacturing process. PFOA belongs to a group of chemicals used to make household and commercial products that resist heat and chemical reactions and repel oil, stains, grease and water. PFOA was widely used in non-stick pots and pans, stain-resistant carpets, and water-resistant outerwear.
In 2006, EPA reached a nationwide agreement with eight manufacturers to phase out the production and use of PFOA. These manufacturers stopped using PFOA in 2015. PFOA is persistent in the environment and can pose adverse effects to human health and the environment. TCE is a volatile organic compound widely used as an industrial solvent. Exposure to TCE can have adverse health impacts, including liver damage and increased risk of cancer.
After PFOA was discovered in the public drinking water supply, a carbon filtration system was installed on the Village of Hoosick Falls water supply wells to treat the water and protect consumers. PFOA was also discovered in private wells, and special systems called “point of entry treatment systems,” or POETS, have been installed on a number of private drinking water wells. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and Department of Health, with input from the EPA, have overseen measures to address the drinking water contamination.
In January 2016, the NYSDEC added the Saint-Gobain site to New York State’s Superfund list and requested that EPA include the site on EPA’s federal Superfund list. In April and May 2016, EPA installed monitoring wells to sample groundwater at and around the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility (McCaffrey Street facility) and sampled the Village water supply wells. EPA also collected soil samples from the McCaffrey Street facility, Village ballfields and recreational areas.
In June 2016, the NYSDEC entered into a legal agreement with Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. and Honeywell Intl. Inc. and initiated a study of the nature and extent of contamination at the site. In September 2016, EPA proposed adding the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics site to the federal Superfund list.
EPA has determined that the appropriate course of action to address contamination from the Saint-Gobain facility is to list the site on the NPL. EPA took public comment and considered public input before finalizing the decision. EPA is coordinating all investigation and cleanup efforts with New York State.