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Bennington study finds PFAS in Cohoes soil, water

Apr 28, 2020 8:00 am
Rick Karlin is reporting for the Times Union a study by Bennington College released April 27, found unusually high amounts of PFAS compounds in the soil and water downwind of the Norlite aggregate and incineration plant in Cohoes. “The soil and surface waters around Norlite are laced with PFAS compounds,” said Judith Enck, a former regional EPA administrator and visiting professor at Bennington who has been calling attention to the incineration of PFAS at the plant. PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of manmade compounds associated with cancers, thyroid problems and other health threats. The compounds, developed in the 1940s, have been used in foam that was until recently used in firefighting. Norlite in 2018 and 2019 was incinerating unused barrels of firefighting foam from places like Vermont and New Hampshire under a federal Department of Defense contract. The burning was not publicly known until February. The Cohoes Common Council on April 28, will consider a one-year moratorium on burning. The Norlite plant includes a shale quarry, which produces aggregate for construction and road building. To save on traditional fuel, the plant burns waste to power its kilns. The Bennington group stressed their survey was preliminary and should be followed up by a more complete study by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The Greene County town of Cairo's water supply is contaminated by PFOS. Firefighting foam was used for many years at a training center near the town's town water well in Angelo Canna Park. Read the full story in the Times Union.