Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 01.20.22

PFOA Saga No. 7 – The aftermath

As the dust settles from the hasty skedaddle of the NYSDEC, the NYSDOH, the RCHD and the Town of Poestenkill from the PFOA-affected “blighted zone” surrounding the Poestenkill transfer station with no source of the PFOA ever found, leaving us on our own with non-potable water, I would first like to thank the Advertiser on behalf of those of us who are not on ZOOM, or FACEBOOK, or TWITTER, and who are not members of Concerned Citizens for Clean Drinking Water (CCCDW), and thus are shut out of the private Zoom update meetings Troy water salesman Bob Brunet, who now calls himself the public health coordinator of Poestenkill, has been having with CCCDW, the RCDOH, the NYSDEC, the NYSDOH, the Algonquin Middle School, and others for being there as our only real source of news as to what has been going on with regard to this farcical PFOA investigation that has now come to an end.

And that brings us to the question of CUI BONO, which means who has benefitted from this fiasco and the successful whitewash and cover-up just concluded.

One of the obvious beneficiaries, of course, is Troy Mayor Patrick Maddon, for whom Poestenkill public health coordinator Bob Brunet sells water, who was quoted singing the blues about revenues for Troy being down in the Albany Times Union story “More rain, less water use makes for drier Troy revenues” “More rain, less water use makes for drier Troy revenues” by Kenneth C. Crowe II on Nov. 6, 2021, to wit:

“Water revenues have fallen across the board,” said Mayor Patrick Madden citing a decline in sales to city residents and the other municipalities served by the city which include Menands, Brunswick, Rensselaer, East Greenbush, North Greenbush, Waterford, Poestenkill and Schaghticoke.

So this contamination of our drinking water while all the authorities looked the other way does have a silver lining for Troy in terms of a financial windfall if Brunet can get another water district put in place in Poestenkill for him.

Paul Plante, Poestenkill

Vision for Resiliency

How shall we plan to survive and thrive no matter what comes at us? For example, how might we prepare for heavy rainfalls, heat waves, and challenges to the power grid? Whatever the causes for these situations, a smart resiliency vision can help us get ready for possible extreme events.

I am happy to report that the North Greenbush Town Board unanimously approved The Climate Smart Resiliency Vision Statement Thursday, January 13. The statement was prepared by the town’s Climate Smart Resiliency Vision Task Force, led by Mary Frances Sabo, with Bernie Wiesen, of Rensselaer County Cooperative Extension. Input from all residents was welcomed, and I applaud the civic minded folks who had the time and energy to devote to the task force. I joined in much later than they did, and was impressed by their vision.

The Vision includes reducing our reliance on cars by making the Town inviting and safe for bicyclists and walkers. Conserving the most crucial natural areas to enhance biodiversity can be a win-win for current and future residents, as well as builders. How shall we build? How shall we grow?

I look forward to working out solutions for our collective good.

Sheree Cammer, Wynantskill

The Dunn dump in Rensselaer is an immediate health hazard

David Carpenter, a renowned local physician who studies the human health impacts of toxic materials, spoke at a December 2nd East Greenbush Town Board (EGTB) forum on the Dunn dump.

The Dunn construction and demolition debris dump, owned by Waste Connections, sits atop a hill next to the Rensselaer public school campus and the Holy Sepulcher Cemetery, and in between Rensselaer and East Greenbush neighborhoods. Odors and who knows what else escape from the dump into the school and nearby neighborhoods. Dozens of diesel spewing, noisy, dirty trucks traverse downtown Rensselaer streets each weekday beginning at 6:30 a.m., to and from the dump.

David Carpenter is a Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University at Albany’s School of Public Health and the former Director of the state health department’s Wadsworth Center on Laboratories and Research.

Dr. Carpenter said old buildings are filled with contaminants not found in newer buildings, some poisons leak from landfills, and “no one pays attention to what is in buildings when demolished.” Among the contaminants are asbestos, a carcinogen; lead and hydrogen sulfides, both neurotoxins; brominated flame retardants, mercury, cadmium, PCBs and dioxins.

Air pollution from the dump and trucks, he said, cause lung cancer, heart disease and attacks. These are of concern to older people but have a cumulative impact for children. He said contaminants can attach to particulates, many chemicals are coming off the landfill, some damage health and reduce cognitive ability. Lead and PCBs reduce IQ, attention span, and increase misbehaviors.

“Anyone living near a landfill, “he said, “will be exposed to it.” Construction and demolition debris waste, he said, should never be buried near a school.

The EGTB unanimously passed a resolution in March 2020 calling for the closure of the dump. The Rensselaer City Council and the Rensselaer County Legislature have more recently done the same.

Tom Ellis, Albany

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