Letters To The Editor

Letters To The Editor 10.07.21

Poestenkill PFOA briefing raised questions

What did Poestenkill post on town website about PFOA?

Algonquin school’s water “does not pose a significant health risk” and “Your water continues to be acceptable for all uses.”

Are those true and factual statements supported by evidence?


Are those established public health standards?

No, those are purely political slogans intended to mislead the public.

A public health professional would not tell people that water with chemical contamination in it does not pose a significant health risk, nor would a public health professional inform the public that water with PFOA in it continues to be acceptable for all uses.

To do otherwise would be reckless and irresponsible.

Are groundwater wells the cause of PFOA in Poestenkill?

The concept is ridiculous and absurd.

Is groundwater the cleanest water?

Unlike surface water collected in rivers and lakes, groundwater is often clean and ready to drink.

How long has Poestenkill known of groundwater problems in the Algonquin School area?

Since the mid-1970s.

Are there test wells in the area of the Algonquin School?

Yes, there is a test well on the south side of the east end of Liberty Lane and another just east of the transfer station.

How long has the RCHD known of groundwater problems in the affected area proximate to Algonquin School?

Since the 1970s.

How long has the DEC known of groundwater problems in the affected area proximate to Algonquin School?

Since the 1970s.

Are there records of prior chemical contamination in that area in the possession of Poestenkill and/or DEC?


Was Richard Elder of the RCHD quoted as saying the RCHD was not looking for source of PFOA contamination in Poestenkill?


Times Union

“Rensselaer County expands PFOA testing in Poestenkill”

Kenneth C. Crowe II

Sep. 22, 2021

Elder said the tests are to determine the potential exposure in drinking water rather than identifying a source of the PFOA contamination.

Paul Plante, Poestenkill

Poestenkill PFOA Q&A

Why is PFOA contamination a concern?

* Studies have found that high PFOA exposure increases the risk of cancer, colitis, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, and pregnancy-induced high blood pressure.

How serious are the PFOA levels near the Algonquin school?

* New York State’s health advisory level for PFOA is 10ppt.

* Federal EPA’s health advisory level is 70 ppt, including the most sensitive populations, for protection from a lifetime of exposure to PFOA in drinking water.

* Two of the 12 tests around Algonquin tested slightly above 10 ppt; the rest were below NYS’s stringent standards.

What are the possible sources of PFOA contamination?

* Manufacturing facilities and landfill leakage are the major sources of contamination.

* Unlike in Petersburg and Hoosick Falls, there have never been manufacturing facilities that used PFOA near Algonquin.

What’s next?

* Because only two of 12 test sites have slightly exceeded NYS’s standards the next steps are to establish if there are additional sites that test above 10 ppt, what are the boundaries of the area where those sites are found, and is the amount of contamination increasing or decreasing?

* The Rensselaer County Health Department and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation are determining where further testing is required.

What can residents do?

* The potential contamination near Algonquin is not as extreme as in Petersburg and Hoosick Falls.

* Until testing is completed homeowners can consider installing an under-sink PFOA certified filtration system costing about $100.

Owen Goldfarb, East Poestenkill

Fact-checking Judy Enck

With respect to the PFOA contamination in Poestenkill’s ground water, at her PFOA press conference on 27 September 2021, former Obama-era EPA administrator Judith Enck stated thusly: “The state agencies, the DEC and the health department seem to be deferring to the county health department.”

And that is because in 1946, and one would think an EPA administrator would already know this, the people of Rensselaer County voted to form a County Health District pursuant to the Public Health Law with a medical doctor as commissioner, a board of health, a county sanitary code, and an associate public health engineer responsible to the people of Rensselaer County for providing advice and guidance to local officials and the general public in regard to environmental health problems such as PFOA contamination and the measures necessary for improvement and compliance with legal requirements, as well as providing leadership in the health district in the promotion of public health through the application of environmental health practices, none of which are state secrets.

That is why in the Rensselaer County Health District, which includes Poestenkill, it is the county health department that has jurisdiction.

In her press conference, Ms. Enck further stated: “And so here’s what I think needs to happen.”

To which I reply all well and good, Judy, it’s America, and so you get to have your own opinion of things, and be sure to thank a veteran for that, but what you think needs to happen in this case and fifty cents buys coffee.

What really needs to happen in this case is that for once in this town, as foreign and radical idea as it may be, we restore the law and go by the book, that book being DEC’s own June 2021 technical guidance manual entitled “Sampling, Analysis, and Assessment of Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Under NYSDEC’s Part 375 Remedial Programs” to ensure consistency in sampling, analysis, reporting, and assessment of PFAS, which include PFOA.

Paul Plante, NYSPE, Assoc. P.H. Eng., Poestenkill

Troy Sand and Gravel

I have no affiliations with Troy Sand and Gravel but I have been a resident of this area for twenty years and graduated from Averill Park twelve years ago. This company has been around longer than the people who flee to this town to escape from places like downstate or California and then ironically impose their ways of living onto their new community. I also find it comical that an expensive lawyer is calling out a local company for their expensive lawyers. Sand Lake and the surrounding areas have been a beautiful, historically rich rural and traditional area to raise families in and enjoy a close knit, united community. Perhaps those who come here looking to change that should reconsider.

Ev Dacie, Averill Park

Averill Park school Board Spending Taxpayers Beware

The Averill Park School Board wants to spend 28.5 million dollars of our money without any public presentation of why or how. I for one don’t want to spend money on something that has not been explained to me. Why for example do we have to replace the doors in the bus garage just because they are old? Electrical and heating systems last for a long time, if they are maintained. Do fire alarms wear out? Please don’t give the board, free reign to spend our money, without a better explanation!

Thank you

Anthony SL Valente, Averill Park

You May Also Like