Residents in Upstate New York Facing Water Crisis

Hoosick Falls water was found to have a high level of toxic PFOA levels. [Steve Johnson]
Hoosick Falls water was found to have a high level of toxic PFOA levels. [Steve Johnson]


Hoosick Falls residents gathered at the Capitol in Albany yesterday to protest the ongoing water crisis in their village and demand Gov. Cuomo to expedite the process for change.

“New York State has failed us,” resident and activist Michelle Baker said during the press conference outside the Capitol. “We have zero accountability from our elected officials.”

Some of the water wells in Hoosick Falls have 30 times the EPA recommended rate of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) levels due to illegal dumping from factories nearby.  PFOA has been linked to increased risk of cancer, including bladder, prostate, and ovarian cancer.

Blood tests of 2,000 Hoosick Falls residents showed that their PFOA level was 15 times more than the national median. However, the New York Health Department did not issue a warning to residents until the federal government announced the health risk last November. On November 25, 2015, the EPA recommended residents to not use their water for cooking or drinking.

“Our lives have not been the same. We had to completely re-plan dinners, brushing our teeth,” resident Michelle O’Leary said. “The bottled water provided cannot replace a truly clean water source.”

Shortly after the EPA announcement, the state installed a temporary filter system. On March 30, 2016, the New York Department of Health announced that Hoosick Falls water was once again safe to drink. “Repeated testing of the village of Hoosick Falls’ municipal water system shows non detection of Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and is now safe for all uses including drinking and cooking,” the press release stated.

However, residents are still wary of drinking the water. They have been frustrated over the lack of a clear plan for a new water site to draw from that would not be contaminated.

“No one answers Hoosick Falls. We’re angry, we’re frustrated, we shouldn’t have to be here,” Baker said. “You have moms, dads, children in the New York state Capitol asking for water, a basic necessity.”

11/22/2016 6:40 PM by Joyce Chu

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