Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

SAINT-GOBAIN PERFORMANCE PLASTICS
VILLAGE OF HOOSICK FALLS, NY

Cleanup Activities

On this page:

On related pages:


Background

The Saint Gobain Performance Plastics site is located in Hoosick Falls, New York. 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).

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 called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) which have been 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, the 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.

For more information on PFAS chemicals, visit Basic Information on PFAS.

In 2015, members of the Hoosick Falls community contacted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with concerns and questions about whether they should drink, bathe in, or cook with their water, which had been found to contain perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

On November 25, 2015, EPA recommended that, based on the presence of PFOA above EPA’s then 400 parts per trillion (ppt) health advisory in the Village of Hoosick Falls public drinking water supply, people not drink the water from the Hoosick Falls public water supply or use it for cooking.

 

The advisory level was subsequently lowered to 70 parts per trillion.

In July 2017, EPA added the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics site to its Superfund National Priorities List (NPL), a list of the most serious sites identified for long-term cleanup.

 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has taken the lead for the investigation and cleanup of the McCaffrey Street site, with support from EPA. NYSDEC has entered into a series of Consent Orders and is overseeing work to address several other related sites in the area, including the Saint-Gobain Liberty Street site, the Oak Materials (River Road) site, the Former Oak Materials (John Street) site, the Hoosick Falls Landfill, the Allied-Signal Laminate Systems - Mechanic Street site and the Former Oak-Mitsui - First Street site. For additional information about the status of NYSDEC's investigations and for the appropriate New York State contacts, visit the NYSDEC webpage: Information for Communities Impacted by Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs).

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) is the lead for addressing PFOA contamination in the water supply. For the latest NYSDOH information, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/investigations/hoosick/.

 

 

Top of Page


What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

In June 2016, NYSDEC entered into a Consent Order with Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International (another party liable for prior operations at the facility) which requires the companies to perform a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) at the McCaffrey Street site to determine the nature and extent of the contamination and to identify and evaluate a range of remedial cleanup alternatives. The main contaminant of concern at the McCaffrey Street site is PFOA in soil and groundwater. Work to date has included collection of samples from soil, groundwater and surface water. 

Under the consent order with the State, the responsible parties also undertook an Interim Remedial Measure (IRM) to address the PFOA contamination impacting the Village Municipal Water Supply. 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. PFOA was also discovered in private wells, and special systems called “point-of-entry treatment systems,” or POETS, have been installed on more than 800 private drinking water wells.

 

Top of Page


What Is the Current Site Status?

EPA is working collaboratively with NYSDEC, the lead agency for the McCaffrey Street NPL site and the other contaminated sites in Hoosick Falls. EPA is supporting the State in the investigation of the McCaffrey site.

The comprehensive RI/FS that is currently underway for the McCaffrey Street site will include an evaluation of the nature and extent of the contamination and will examine a range of alternatives for addressing contamination to protect people’s health. The Superfund process requires that a variety of alternatives be evaluated. 

In August 2018, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics prepared a workplan for an IRM at the McCaffrey Street facility which includes the construction of a groundwater interceptor trench to collect and extract contaminated groundwater leaving the property and impacting the nearby municipal water supply wells. The collected groundwater will be treated. EPA provided comments on the workplan in October 2018. Construction of the groundwater interceptor trench is expected to begin in February 2019. 

As the studies continue as part of the RI/FS process, the POET systems that were previously installed on private wells by the State will be surveyed and maintained on a regular basis.

Under the consent order with the State, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International are also conducting a feasibilty study to evaluate permanent alternate water supplyies options. The preliminary evaluation examined several alternative sources, including the Tomhannock Reservoir in Pittstown, New York, water supplies in Bennington, Vermont, and other surface and groundwater sources. 

In mid-March 2019, EPA’s Office of Research and Development will perform air (stack) sampling at the McCaffrey Street facility to occur to identify the specific PFAS and PTFE products in air emissions. This information will be used to assess the need for an air pollution control system. 

For additional information about the status of the NYSDEC investigations and for the appropriate New York State contacts, visit the NYSDEC webpage: Information for Communities Impacted by Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs).

For the latest NYSDOH information about work to address the public water supply, visit https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/investigations/hoosick/.

Top of Page


Sampling and Monitoring

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. Additional information about the sampling is available in a series of 2016 Community Update fact sheets, available in "Site Documents and Data."

In 2016, additional sampling of soil, groundwater, surface water, and sediment in the Hoosick area was performed by NYSDEC. Investigations are ongoing by the potentially responsible parties with oversight and direction by NYSDEC.

There has been increasing concern about the potential risks posed by other PFOA-replacement chemicals, such as GenX. After coordination with EPA, the state and Saint-Gobain initiated an effort to look for the presence of replacement and other PFAS substances in the public water supply and groundwater near the site. Water samples from the raw (untreated) water intake, the midpoint between the two granulated activated carbon (GAC) units, and the finished (treated) water from the Hoosick Falls Municipal Water Treatment Plant were collected in January 2018. The samples were analyzed for GenX and a suite of 21 perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Groundwater samples were also collected by the state and Saint-Gobain from four groundwater monitoring wells at and near the McCaffrey Street facility for similar analysis. GenX was not detected in any of the drinking water or groundwater samples. While other compounds from the PFAS group were detected in the monitoring well samples and in the raw water samples at the water treatment plant, those compounds were not detected in the finished water at the water treatment plant. 

 

Top of Page