Officials: Don't Drink Tap Water in Petersburgh, PFOA Found

TOWN OF PETERSBURGH, N.Y. -- Eleven miles south of Hoosick Falls, the Town of Petersburgh could also be facing a water crisis. 

Speaking to the media Saturday afternoon, state health officials announced they have found traces of the chemical PFOA in the Town of Petersburgh water supply. 

"DEC's role moving forward, at the governors direction, is going to be to fully characterize the extent of contamination," said DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos.  

Health officials said earlier this month that Petersburgh-based Taconic Plastics called the state after the company found the groundwater at their facility was contaminated with the dangerous chemical PFOA, a chemical the DEC said has been linked to cancer.

"We began testing immediately, we got the results back within weeks," said Jim Malatras, Director of State Operations.  

Friday night, health officials said the results showed levels at 95.9 parts per trillion in the towns well, and 93.3 parts per trillion in another spot. The most recent EPA advisory level in drinking water is 400. Earlier this year, a little more than 10 miles away, Hoosick Falls came in at more than 600. Their reading was traced back to the Saint Gobain plant.

"We want people to remain calm, this is below the level that's been suggested," said Malatras.  

But out of what officials call an "abundance of caution," three tons of bottled water was dropped off at the Petersburgh Town Hall Saturday afternoon for residents paid for by Taconic Plastics. Meanwhile, state and county officials will conduct more tests. 

Residents who were surprised to hear the news in such a tight-knit community of around 1,600 are hoping whatever they find is harmless. 

"Hoosick Falls has some real health issues with the people I'm assuming linked to cancer and the continuation, I would hate to see anything like that here in Petersburgh," said resident Scott Degiorgio.

Taconic Plastics released the following statement:

“Taconic is in the process of conducting a site evaluation and has asked the NYSDEC and the New York State Department of Health for their guidance. The company is fully cooperating with both agencies and will take whatever steps these agencies deem appropriate regarding this matter."

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