Hundreds gather at meeting to discuss contaminated Hoosick Falls water

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HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The people of Hoosick Falls expressed their concerns over contaminated water to environmental officials on Thursday.

“Could we have acted sooner and saved lives in Hoosick Falls?” high school senior Connor McCart wondered.

The municipal water in the Village of Hoosick Falls has tested positive for a chemical called PFOA. Samples near Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics showed levels were 45 times higher than what’s considered safe.

But whispers of contamination started years ago.

“I was, like, 6-years old, 7-years old, as a joke, ‘Don’t eat the fish out of the river because the water’s bad,’” McCart said.

On Thursday night, hundreds gathered for an informational meeting where Michael Hickey was dubbed a hero. His father died of kidney cancer three years ago. Suspicious, Hickey tracked down a lab and bought a special kit in 2014. The water test came back positive for PFOA.

“I also didn’t want to see anybody else go through what we went through,” Hickey said.

Now the Environmental Protection Agency has recommended a temporary filtration system be put in place until a permanent one is completed in October. But a Hoosick Falls High School senior had another idea.

“What monetary aid can be given to the village to acquire a new water source such as contracting with Troy and the Tomahanock Reservoir or Bennington and their source, Morgan Springs?” she asked.

The EPA informed people that the journey is far from over.

“More private well sampling is still needed in the area,” EPA Regional Director Judith Enck said. “A study needs to be done to investigate the nature and the extent of the contamination and to identify all of the sources of the contamination,” she said.

PFOA is believed to cause cancers and other illnesses.

Dr. Marcus Martinez organized the meeting because he believes cancer in the village is linked to the contamination.

The New York State Department of Health will be looking at cancer rates. The department is encouraging residents to participate in blood testing to identify levels of PFOA.