THE PAUL PLANTE STORY

thelivyjr
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Re: THE PAUL PLANTE STORY

Post by thelivyjr »

14 MAY 2023

The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

RE: On the culture of corruption of your NYSDEC; the on-going Poestenkill PFAS Whitewash; Why are your NYSDEC and NYSDOH untruthful; Why are your NYSDEC and NYSDOH protecting a politically-powerful polluter in Poestenkill (T), Rensselaer County, as opposed to protecting and safeguarding the lives, health and property of the residents of Poestenkill?

Dear Governor Hochul:

As you would well know, given that you are both an attorney and the Governor of New York with a duty pursuant to §3 of Article IV of the New York State Constitution which states "the governor shall take care that the laws are faithfully executed," and further given the clear and unambiguous statutory language of New York State Environmental Conservation Law § 3-0103, wherein is stated “The head of the department shall be the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation, who shall * * * * hold office at the pleasure of the Governor by whom he was appointed,” that the explicit language of that section of law makes you personally responsible for any and all acts of misfeasance (a transgression, especially the wrongful exercise of lawful authority), malfeasance (wrongdoing, especially by a public official), and nonfeasance (failure to perform an act that is required by law) by your NYSDEC, which acts would include concealing evidence and blatantly lying to the public to protect a politically-powerful polluter in Poestenkill, as was recently done by your NYSDEC in an official NYSDEC document titled “April 2023 Community Update – Poestenkill Area PFAS Contamination,” wherein was stated as follows, to wit:

INVESTIGATION SUMMARY

The State and County’s extensive investigation suggests there is no industrial source contributing to the PFAS detected in drinking water at or near the Algonquin Middle School.


(emphasis added)

On its face, the statement that a so-called “extensive investigation” can at best merely “suggest” something is absurd, and it makes a complete mockery of the word “extensive,” which is taken by a competent licensed professional engineer such as myself to mean “comprehensive” and “thorough” as in full accordance with the regulatory language of DER-10 Technical Guidance For Site Investigation and Remediation - May 2010, where in Chapter 3, Site Characterization and Remedial Investigation, in section 3.1, Site Characterization and Remedial Investigation Overview, (a) Site Characterization, the chapter sets forth guidance for characterization of a site, pursuant to an oversight document identified in paragraph 1.2(d).

That technical guidance document, which is not a suggestion, states thusly concerning site characterization, as follows:

The remedial program for a site requiring a site characterization (SC) is completed in the steps detailed in this chapter, beginning with the site characterization and concluding, where necessary, with a remedial investigation (RI).

1. The SC is designed to determine whether a site poses little or no threat to public health and the environment or if it poses a threat and whether the threat requires further investigation. The SC gathers the information necessary to characterize whether site-related contamination requires further action pursuant to one of the DER remedial programs identified in section 1.2.

2. A SC requires a records search followed, if needed, by field characterization. The purpose of a SC is to identify potentially contaminated areas at a site. It includes the gathering of sufficient information to determine whether the site requires further investigation or remediation. The steps in the SC process are:

i. a records search, conducted in accordance with Appendix 3A.


end quotes

If in fact a truly “extensive” investigation has been conducted in this matter, it would have made it conclusive, not merely “suggestive,” that the Poestenkill transfer station, which has a history of violations of law and permit going back to an Order on Consent issued to then-operator USA Waste of NY, which company then merged with Waste Management of New York, LLC, by John P. Cahill, Commissioner, on March 19, 1999, was clearly the source of the PFAS contamination, especially since nearly a year ago now, in June of 2022, the NYSDEC posted on its website a 20 June 2022 report of Barton & Loguidice Geologists on behalf of Waste Management of New York, LLC, the politically-powerful operator of the DEC-regulated Poestenkill transfer station, which report made it patently clear that between 2018 and June of 2022, a conservative estimate of some 206,379 gallons of leachate containing some 100 ppt of PFOA, 41 ppt of PFOS, 22 ppt of PFBS, 30 ppt of PFHpA, 37 ppt of PFPeA, 39 ppt of PFHxS, 62 ppt of PFHxS, and 250 ppt PFHxA generated at the Poestenkill transfer station were discharged to the environment in Poestenkill.

So when the NYSDEC tells us in its official NYSDEC document titled “April 2023 Community Update – Poestenkill Area PFAS Contamination” that the “State and County’s extensive investigation suggests there is no industrial source contributing to the PFAS detected in drinking water at or near the Algonquin Middle School,” that is a patently-stupid, bald-faced, intentional lie being told by people who do not belong in state service, and they and their lies are your responsibility as Governor.

For the record, there was no “extensive investigation,” because there is no evidence in the record, starting with a records search, which wasn’t conducted, to support a conclusion that in fact, even a cursory investigation had been made, let alone an “extensive” one.

To the contrary, what there was, and all there was, going all the way back to January of 2021, when PFAS was first detected, was a cover-up and whitewash conducted by NYSDEC, NYSDOH, the RCHD and Poestenkill, and as to the Rensselaer County Department of Health’s supposed part in this so-called “extensive investigation,” which is a laugh, given there wasn’t one, in a Times Union article titled “Rensselaer County expands PFOA testing in Poestenkill” by Kenneth C. Crowe II on September 22, 2021, Rensselaer County Associate Public Health Engineer Richard Elder, NYSPE made it crystal clear that the RCHD was not investigating what the source was, to wit:

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

end quotes

And today, your NYSDEC has the gall to tell us that the “State and County’s extensive investigation suggests there is no industrial source contributing to the PFAS detected in drinking water at or near the Algonquin Middle School,” which is a lie that ultimately you as governor bear responsibility for, given that pursuant to New York State Environmental Conservation Law § 3-0103, the NYSDEC dances to the tune that you call!

Accordingly, right now, these lies being told to us by your NYSDEC as it continues to try to protect Waste Management of New York, LLC, are on you.

If you wish to change that perception, your choice is clear – tell your NYSDEC to withdraw those lies and then remove the guilty parties from state service.

Thanking you in advance, I remain

Sincerely,

Paul R. Plante, NYSPE
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Re: THE PAUL PLANTE STORY

Post by thelivyjr »

PRESS RELEASE!

PUBLIC NOTICE!

HEAR YE! HEAR YE!

LIAR’S EXTRAVAGANZA TO BE HELD IN POESTENKILL, NEW YORK AT THE ALGONQUIN MIDDLE SCHOOL FROM 5 P.M. TO 8 P.M. ON 18 MAY 2023!


EVENT SPONSORED BY NEW YORK STATE GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL AND RENSSELAER COUNTY EXECUTIVE STEVE McLAUGHLIN AND IS FREE TO THE PUBLIC, SO BRING THE WHOLE FAMLILY FOR A NIGHT OF OLD-FASHIONED FUN AND ENTERTAINMENT CHOCK-FILLED WITH OUTRAGEOUS LIES, FANTASTIC TALL TALES, ULTRAPURE BALARNEY, GUARANTEED MALARKEY AND JUST PLAIN KA-KA AS THREE OF THE BEST LIARS NOT ONLY IN AMERICA, BUT THE WORLD AS WELL, BATTLE IT OUT FOR THE BRAGGING RIGHTS AS BIGGEST AND BEST LIAR OF THEM ALL!

WATCH IN FASCINATION AS A TAG TEAM OF THE CHAMPION LIARS OF GOVERNOR HOCHUL’S HEALTH DEPARTMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION DEPARTMENT GO FOR THE GOLD BY SWEARING UP, DOWN AND SIDEWAYS THAT WHAT THE OTHER LIAR HAD JUST SAID WAS THE GOSH DARN TRUTH AND THEN SOME AS THEY LIE THROUGH THEIR TEETH TELLING US HOW THE BEST SCIENTIFIC MINDS IN THE WHOLE OF NEW YORK STATE WERE ABLE TO DETERMINE BASED ON SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE DEMONSTRATING THAT THE POESTENKILL TRANSFER STATION IS THE SOURCE OF THE PFAS CONTAMINATION IN POESTENKILL’S GROUNDWATER THAT THE POESTENKILL TRANSFER STATION IS NOT THE SOURCE OF THE PFAS CONTAMINATION IN POESTENKILL’S GROUNDWATER!

AND PREPARE TO GET MESMERIZED AS THE CHAMPION LIAR OF THE RENSSELAER COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT REGALES YOU WITH GREAT BIG WHOPPERS AS ONLY HE CAN TELL THEM AS HE SWEARS UP AND DOWN THAT HE IS TELLING YOU THE GOSPLE TRUTH WHEN HE TELLS YOU THAT WHEN FOLLOWING THE SCIENCE TO CONDUCT AN EXTENSIVE INVESTIGATION TO FIND THE SOURCE OF THE PFAS CONTAMINATION IN POESTENKILL’S GROUNDWATER, THAT IT IS PROPER PROCEDURE TO NOT LOOK FOR THE SOURCE OF THE PFAS IN POESTENKILL’S GROUNDWATER.

WHO WILL WIN?

WHY, THE BEST LIAR OF THE THREE, OF COURSE, SO BRING THE FAMILY AND DON’T MISS THE SHOW!

DATED: 16 May 2023
thelivyjr
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Re: THE PAUL PLANTE STORY

Post by thelivyjr »

COMMUNITY UPDATE - APRIL 2023 - POESTENKILL AREA PFAS CONTAMINATION:

Multiple Low-Level Sources of PFAS Are Likely Cause

The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Health (DOH), and the Rensselaer County Department of Health (RCDOH), are working together to protect public health and the environment in the Poestenkill community.

Working together, State and County agencies have investigated the known potential sources of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination, including the local waste transfer station, lumber yard, a manufacturing facility, former landfill, former speedway, former car wash, tire disposal area, and the Algonquin Middle School property.

In addition, wastewater discharges (septic systems) were also considered as potential sources of PFAS.

The investigation did not identify an industrial source for this contamination.

To update the community on ongoing efforts to protect drinking water supplies and investigate potential sources of contamination, DEC, DOH, and RCDOH are holding a community availability session on May 18, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Algonquin Middle School.

At the availability session, DEC, DOH, and RCDOH experts will staff tables featuring information about the various aspects of the investigation and response, providing opportunities for local residents to ask questions of experts one-on-one.

Much like a typical ‘open house,’ attendees can arrive and depart at any time during the session.

AVAILABILITY SESSION

Thursday, May 18, 5-8 p.m.

Algonquin Middle School Cafeteria

Join DEC, DOH, RCDOH, and the Town of Poestenkill to learn about efforts to protect drinking water supplies and investigate PFAS contamination.

The investigations in Poestenkill were designed to identify the source of PFAS detected in the drinking water of the Algonquin Middle School and private wells in the surrounding area.

The investigation spanned an area greater than 200 acres in size and included collection of more than 150 samples for PFAS analysis, in addition to hundreds of drinking water samples.

Information collected over the last 18 months suggests multiple low-level sources of PFAS are contributing to the PFAS observed in drinking water.

INVESTIGATION SUMMARY

The State and County’s extensive investigation suggests there is no industrial source contributing to the PFAS detected in drinking water at or near the Algonquin Middle School.

The results indicate that the geologic conditions are conducive for surface water and shallow groundwater to mix with the deeper aquifer zone, which currently serves as the school’s drinking water supply.

Additional maps and reports on the investigation are available for review at DEC’s Poestenkill Assessment Area website.

Groundwater contamination that is diffuse and not shown to be emanating from a known commercial or industrial source is not amenable to conventional source treatment.

When these conditions are present, DEC and DOH recommend using public water and/or sewer systems to serve the affected area.

DEC, DOH, and our partners are working with the town of Poestenkill to explore infrastructure options that will prevent public exposure to contamination, such as the creation of the new water district that would serve the Middle School and surrounding community.


The State and County’s investigation began after DOH-required public water supply sampling at the Algonquin Middle School in early 2021 detected perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) at levels slightly above New York’s public drinking water standard — Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) — of 10 parts per trillion (ppt).

To ensure access to clean water for the school community, the school installed a treatment system.

This community update describes the extensive investigations and actions to prevent exposures to contamination taken by the agencies.

Previous updates can be found at: https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/124334.html

Private Well Testing

To date, RCDOH has sampled 97 private wells near the school.

PFOA and/or perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) were detected above the State’s public drinking water standards of 10 ppt in 14 private wells.

Although New York State does not regulate private wells, the State’s drinking water standards for PFOA and PFOS for public water supplies are used as guidelines to recommend actions to reduce exposures in private wells.

As a result, DEC provided the 14 homes served by private wells that exceed 10 ppt with point-of-entry treatment systems (POETs) to filter out PFAS and provide clean drinking water.

The remaining 83 private wells did not show PFOA or PFOS detections above the standards.

Fourteen additional private wells had initial results between 5 and 10 ppt of PFOA and/or PFOS, and homeowners gave DEC permission to resample 11 of these wells in July 2022.

Resampling results were consistent with previous results.

The resampling effort also included analysis for artificial sweeteners and other household-derived chemicals commonly found in domestic waste streams, like septic systems.

Sucralose or Acesulfame Potassium, common artificial sweeteners resistant to environmental degradation, appeared in every sample.

While not harmful to humans at the levels detected, they are commonly used as markers to trace the impacts of septic systems on nearby drinking water supplies.

Additional samples have been collected for these markers at Poestenkill-area homes with POETs to study wells with higher concentrations of PFOA and/or PFOS.

Based on private drinking water data collected over the last 18 months and the extensive source investigation, there are no plans to expand the private well testing program to more distant parts of the town of Poestenkill.

The investigation findings suggest that PFAS detections in private wells are likely emanating from non-point sources of wastewater.

For more information on PFAS and private wells: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental ... ewells.htm

Algonquin Area PFAS Assessment

In November 2021, DEC completed a preliminary investigation at the Middle School to help determine potential source(s) of PFAS found in water supply wells.

Results from this initial phase of work did not identify an obvious source(s) of contamination but provided valuable data to help narrow down the areas of concern to investigate further.

DEC then worked to acquire legally required access agreements to expand the investigation to additional properties.

DEC released the PFAS Assessment, Phase II Work Plan in April 2022, describing the steps necessary to investigate and identify sources.

The work plan is available for download at the DEC’s Poestenkill Assessment Area website: https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/124334.html

In May 2022, DEC hired an engineering consultant and specialized drilling contractors to complete the second phase of field work in the area.

Field work consisted of investigating the overburden materials (loose, unconsolidated materials on top of bedrock), focusing on collecting soil and groundwater samples for PFA and confirming depth to bedrock.

An extensive bedrock boring program was also completed.

Bedrock boring program.

DEC contractors began drilling boreholes into bedrock in July 2022 and finished installing bedrock wells in September.

Boreholes were drilled to an average depth of 180 feet below ground surface at five locations:

• Location 1 - Intersection of NY 351/NY 66

• Location 2 - Ford Road

• Location 3 - Algonquin Middle School

• Location 4 - Liberty Lane/Weatherwax Road

• Location 5 - Mohawk Drive

Two bedrock wells were completed at Locations 1 through 4.

Three bedrock wells were completed at Location 5 due to identification of a transmissive fracture at an intermediate depth (at about 70 feet below grade).

Each location has a deep well installed near the bottom of the 180-foot borehole and a paired shallow well installed between 15 and 37 feet.

Bedrock well sampling and flow determination.

Bedrock well samples were collected in September 2022 and analyzed for PFAS and artificial sweeteners, which are commonly found in domestic waste streams (septic systems).

PFOA and/or PFOS were also observed regionally in bedrock monitoring wells.

The highest PFOA concentrations in bedrock groundwater were detected in samples collected from the two Algonquin Middle School bedrock monitoring wells (18 and 24 ppt) and the shallow bedrock well along Mohawk Drive (12 ppt).

PFOS was also detected at the school at concentrations between 12 and 17 ppt.

Notably, while artificial sweeteners were detected in all the installed bedrock wells, the highest concentrations were detected in the bedrock wells installed closest to the school’s septic system at Location 3.

The newly installed wells were surveyed and depth to water was measured to calibrate downhole pressure transducers (described below) and calculate area groundwater flow direction and gradient.

Investigators determined that bedrock groundwater flows in a northwesterly direction in the study area.

Devices called downhole pressure transducers, which measure and record changes in water levels over time, were deployed within the installed wells following groundwater sampling.

The transducers remained in place for four weeks and recorded multiple precipitation events.

Investigators reviewed data to assess connectivity of overburden and bedrock aquifers, connectivity of shallow and deep fractures, and effects of pumping from nearby supply wells.

The data showed significant hydraulic connections between the shallow and deep bedrock zones and a large hydraulic influence of the water supply pumping on bedrock flow in the area.

Overburden soil and groundwater sampling.

In August 2022, DEC contractors began drilling as part of the overburden investigation at the Algonquin Middle School.

The investigation consisted of soil sampling and installation of eight overburden monitoring wells.

The highest concentrations of PFOA (24 ppt) and PFOS (51 ppt) observed in overburden groundwater were measured in samples collected from wells adjacent to the school’s septic system, which is located beneath the athletic fields behind the school.

The highest levels of artificial sweeteners were also detected in the wells near the septic system, suggesting that wastewater is the most likely source of PFAS contamination in groundwater serving as the school’s drinking water supply.

Soil sampling results for PFOA and PFOS were below guidance values for residential use.

Surface water and sediment sampling.

Co-located surface water/sediment samples were collected on July 27, 2022.

Ten locations along a tributary of Newfoundland Creek were sampled between Heather Ridge Road (furthest upstream) and Weatherwax Road (furthest downstream).

PFOA and PFOS were not detected above 10 ppt in any surface water sample.

Detections in surface water ranged from 2 to 9.1 ppt for PFOA and up to 5.2 ppt for PFOS.

PFOS concentrations in sediment ranged from non-detect to 1.5 parts per billion; PFOA was not detected in the sediment samples.

Another round of surface water sampling was completed during the first week of October 2022 and analyzed for PFAS and artificial sweeteners.

Analytical results show that PFOA concentrations had decreased compared to earlier results.

Artificial sweeteners were detected in six of seven sampled locations.

Overburden Investigations at Nearby Properties

DEC hired additional contractors to investigate the overburden soil at nearby properties.

Work began in August 2022.

Overburden monitoring wells were not installed at all properties due to the presence of shallow bedrock or the absence of groundwater.

Overburden characterization per property:

• Hass Manufacturing: Soil sampling

• Former Car Wash: Soil sampling

• Valente Lumber Yard: Soil sampling and installation of three overburden monitoring wells

• Cooper Tire: Soil sampling and installation of one overburden monitoring well

• Waste Management of New York: Soil sampling and installation of four overburden monitoring wells

Sampling was completed in September 2022 and samples were analyzed for PFAS and artificial sweeteners.

Analytical results indicated that, like the bedrock aquifer, PFOA and PFOS are present below or slightly above 10 ppt across the study area.

Waste Management Transfer Station:

In April 2022, DEC directed Waste Management of New York (WMNY) to collect and analyze samples for PFAS from the underground leachate collection vault, the small pond, two former drinking water supply wells, and from any existing groundwater monitoring/supply wells (if present).

DEC also requested WMNY to provide documentation of leachate transported to and discharged to the Schenectady wastewater treatment plant over the past five years, as well as the results of any tests for leaks related to the facility’s leachate collection system.

Samples from four existing groundwater supply wells were collected in April 2022.

Of the four wells sampled, PFOA was detected above 10 ppt in one well, which is used for non-potable purposes, at a concentration of 15 ppt; PFOS was not detected above 10 ppt in any groundwater samples.

Surface water concentrations were also detected for PFOA and PFOS at 2.9 ppt and 7.6 ppt, respectively.

PFOA and PFOS were detected in wastewater within the leachate tank at concentrations of 100 ppt and 41 ppt, respectively.

WMNY’s June 2022 report documented no leaks related to the leachate collection system.

The tank is double walled with an alarm system between the inner and outer tanks that would detect the presence of liquid.

According to the report, more than 67,000 gallons of wastewater have been pumped and transported for appropriate disposal off site since 2018.

The WMNY report is available on DEC’s Poestenkill Assessment Area website: https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/124334.html

As mentioned previously, DEC installed four new overburden wells on the transfer station property to assess potential groundwater impacts due to waste handling activities and possible discharges from the leachate collection system.

PFOA and PFOS were detected in every groundwater sample but only one result exceeded 10 ppt (14 ppt of PFOS).

This sample was collected from the monitoring well located on the south side of the onsite surface water pond.

Soil sampling results for PFOA and PFOS were below guidance values for residential use.

Based on these results, as well as samples collected from the bedrock aquifer and the small pond showing only minor impacts on the WMNY property, the investigation did not identify a significant source of PFAS migrating off the transfer station property and contaminating area drinking water wells.

In addition, there is no evidence that the leachate collection system has failed or that the tank has leaked.


Valente Lumber Yard:

Overburden groundwater samples were collected from three newly installed monitoring wells.

Results ranged from 6.2 to 10 ppt and from non-detect to 4.3 ppt for PFOA and PFOS, respectively.

Two co-located surface water and sediment samples were collected from an onsite pond and at the outlet of a drainage pipe.

PFOA was detected in both samples at concentrations of 12 ppt and 14 ppt and PFOS in one sample at 21 ppt.

Soil sampling results for PFOA and PFOS were below guidance values for residential use.

The results did not identify a significant source of PFAS migrating off the lumber yard and contaminating area drinking water wells.

Hass Manufacturing, Cooper Tire, and Former Car Wash Property:

Soil sampling results from Hass Manufacturing and Cooper Tire were below guidance values for residential use.

One sample collected on the Former Car Wash Property showed a PFOS soil concentration of 11 ppb, slightly above the PFOS soil guidance value for residential use of 8.8 ppb.

PFOA and PFOS were not detected in the groundwater sample collected from Cooper Tire.

The results do not indicate the properties are a source for PFAS contamination in the area.

Investigation of Other Properties

Dynamic Systems Inc.: Due to PFOA contamination detected in a groundwater monitoring well at Dynamic Systems Inc. (DSI) as part of DEC’s source investigation, the State acted to further assess PFAS in groundwater at DSI and potential exposures in nearby drinking water supply wells.

DEC and DOH offered sampling to owners of 13 properties in the vicinity of DSI.

Of the 13, six property owners responded, and those private water supplies were sampled and analyzed for PFAS and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Results for the six properties were shared with the property owners.

There were no detections of PFOA, PFOS, or VOCs in any of the samples; therefore, no actions are needed to address potential exposure in the drinking water.

At DEC’s request, DSI collected additional groundwater samples for PFAS analysis from six existing onsite monitoring wells.

This effort was completed in April 2022.

The results were consistent with previous of PFAS in drinking water.

The final report is available on the DEC’s Poestenkill Assessment Area website.

No additional action is planned to investigate this location other than periodic monitoring of PFAS in existing wells.

NYS PFAS Product Bans/Extended Producer Responsibility

PFAS are common in our daily lives and present in many household products, such as carpeting, fabrics, cosmetics, stain-proofing applications, food packaging, cleaning agents, and floor waxes.

Use of these common products in households and institutions creates waste streams (such as septic systems) with low levels of PFAS.

Inevitably, these chemicals enter the environment.

New York State recognizes that removing PFAS from the environment requires a long-term, concerted effort involving laws and regulations aimed at manufacturers, in addition to work underway to limit direct discharges of emerging contaminants to groundwater or surface water bodies.

Over the past few years New York enacted laws to phase out intentionally-added PFAS in carpeting, aqueous film forming foam (“AFFF”), food packaging, and apparel, among other products.

Ongoing Community Engagement

DEC, DOH, and RCDOH experts will continue to be available to answer questions from the community.

Please see “Who to Contact” below for key points of contact.

WHO TO CONTACT

DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION


Eric Hausamann (518) 402-9759

Eric.Hausamann@dec.ny.gov

DEPT. OF HEALTH

Justin Deming (518) 402-7896

Justin.Deming@health.ny.gov

RENSSELAER COUNTY DEPT. OF HEALTH

Rich Elder (518) 270-2632

RElder@rensco.com

https://www.dec.ny.gov/data/der/factshe ... te0423.pdf
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Re: THE PAUL PLANTE STORY

Post by thelivyjr »

NEWS CHANNEL 13

Poestenkill town board floats water district to fight PFOAs"


By WNYT

Updated: May 10, 2023 - 1:17 PM

Published: July 22, 2022 - 12:08 AM

Water filled with potentially dangerous chemicals has been an issue in Poestenkill for 18 months, and residents still don’t know where they came from.

Just like the residents, board members also want to know where the chemicals originated from, but in the meantime their plan is to expand their current water system into District 2.


Thursday, July 21st, a proposal of the expansion was presented to a room full of Poestenkill residents eager for answers, unfortunately many of those questions will still go unanswered.

Board Member Eric Wohlleber blames the State’s Department Of Environmental Conservation.

“They have not done their job in Poestenkill we have to know what the source of the PFOA is, so we know how large the contamination is,” he said.

At this time the town just has a map from December 2021 that shows the area where PFOA was found…this area marked as district 2 would be the people who benefit from the water expansion, but it leaves one resident in attendance out.

“My water looks like you take a clear glass of water and you add Hershey’s chocolate to it, and you stir it up until it goes through that filtration system," she said.

"It makes me sad, it’s only about a half a mile and I understand that it’s a matter of money.”

The current layout of District two cost about 5.5 million dollars.

If the board gets the grant they applied for that still leaves residents responsible for a little more than $1300 if they use the water and almost $900 if they don’t use it.

Poestenkill’s Town Supervisor, Keith Hammond says he will not ask residents to vote on this current proposal with these high costs.

Wohlleber says the town need’s help not just from the Federal level but also the State.

"I think it’s time for Gov Hochul to say the word Poestenkill for the first time, tell us where she stands and get out here and help these folks,” said Wohlleber.

Wohlleber says he doesn’t even want to think about what happens if they don’t get the grant money, but their plan is to get the cost down as much as possible.

https://wnyt.com/top-stories/poestenkil ... ght-pfoas/
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Re: THE PAUL PLANTE STORY

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WICC

May 12, 2023

"LET PUBLIC VOTE ON PROPOSED NEW WATER DISTRICT, POESTENKILL RESIDENTS SAY"

POESTENKILL, NY – The Town Board held a well-attended public hearing on the proposed water district in Poestenkill yesterday.

Residents heard from the Laberge Group, the consulting agency that put together the proposed plan, before having the opportunity to raise concerns to the Board.

Terri-Lee Jacangelo, a resident who lives on Seneca Drive, expressed frustration with how long it has taken to propose a solution to the PFAS problem, given it has been two years since the contaminant was first found in Algonquin Middle School’s water supply.

“We don’t have final [cost] numbers out… is [the water district] going to go to the citizens to vote on?”

Greg Pattenaude spoke on behalf of the Concerned Citizens for Clean Water, telling the Board that “we believe clean water is important,” but emphasized that the “overhead does seem excessive.”

Pattenaude also brought up that over $200k of federal pandemic funding has been untouched by the Town which could be used to help finance the project.

According to Laberge, the project is estimated to cost $5.55 million.

The Board has acquired significant grant funding to cover most of the costs, including $670k from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Grant and over $3.3 million predicted in formula funding from the NYS Water Infrastructure Improvement Grant, which leaves $952,300 remaining to be paid for by the town.

The Town of Poestenkill would have to take out a loan to pay for this, and residents within Water District 2 would be responsible for $405 per household every year.

Residents would also of course have to pay for the water they use on top of debt service payments.

Laberge estimated that the average household would use 73,000 gallons a year, which at the current water district rate would incur about $420 per home.

With an estimated $140 for operation and maintenance costs, the total price per home would be $965 a year.

If Congressional funding came through in November, that cost would be reduced to about $600 per household.

In addition, homeowners would be responsible for the one-time cost of connecting the service line to their homes, a cost that Laberge’s proposal didn’t estimate.

The price tag of the switch from well water to public water seemed to be a chief concern for those residing within the proposed district.

Resident Paul Plante emphasized that once “the district is formed, then the cost of engineering shifts to us… I’m a disabled veteran on a fixed income.”

“Don’t put it out to a vote until the cost is significantly clarified,” said Dominic Jacangelo, former Town Supervisor and the construction supervisor for Poestenkill’s first water district.

The cost of the project is currently contingent on Congressional assistance that has not yet been solidified.

Jacangelo also pointed out that the construction of Poestenkill’s first water district took less than a year.

“Construction is really fast."

"It’s so important to make sure everything is in place before we do that.”

If the Board moves forward with the proposed district, they say construction would commence this summer with the aim of completing it by December 2024.

Water for the new district would be sourced from the City of Troy, which gets its water from the Tomhannock Reservoir.

The Reservoir has been considered as an alternative clean water source for a PFAS-contaminated town before: Hoosick Falls considered connecting to the Tomhannock back in 2021 to mitigate their own PFOA contamination crisis.

This was the last time PFAS testing was completed at the Reservoir, where surface water samples found PFOS below 1 part per trillion (ppt) and PFOA below 2 ppt, which are relatively safe levels according to EPA’s proposed measures.

Though the Board tabled the public hearing after all residents had a chance to speak, Supervisor Keith Hammond made a note to say that the hearing will be “ongoing” so residents have a continuous chance to talk and ask questions about the district as the process endures.

Hammond said that residents would be invited to speak again after next week’s public discussion on the state’s final report on PFAS contamination in the town.

It may be beneficial to conduct surface water sampling at Tomhannock Reservoir before a decision on the water district is made to confirm that it would be the alternative with the least amount of risk to PFAS contamination for Poestenkill households that would rely on it.

The reason for the new water district is Poestenkill’s extensive drinking water contamination from chemicals called PFAS – per and polyfluoroalkyl substances – also known as “forever chemicals” due to their lingering properties in blood and concerning health risks.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Health (DOH) investigated potential sites of contamination over the last two years and recently released a report detailing their findings.

Poestenkill residents are urged to attend the open house-style event put on by the DEC and DOH to discuss the findings of the report.

The event is Thursday, May 18th at the Algonquin Middle School cafeteria, and residents can attend anytime between 5:00 and 8:00 PM.

The Water Insecurity Correction Coalition (WICC), through its Upstate Water Contamination Project, has been working with and for residents of Poestenkill to provide education on the PFAS problem and hopefully find and advocate for the best solution to the contamination of drinking water supplies.

WICC is a youth-led 501c3 nonprofit based in New York State.

https://yeswicc.com/news/let-public-vot ... aynbspnbsp
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Re: THE PAUL PLANTE STORY

Post by thelivyjr »

NEWS 10

"Town legislation to pay for PFOA testing in Poestenkill does not pass"


by: Jamie DeLine

Posted: Oct 21, 2021 / 11:38 PM EDT

Updated: Oct 22, 2021 / 04:40 AM EDT

POESTENKILL, N.Y. (NEWS10)– After contaminates called PFOS or PFOAs, were found in Algonquin Middle School’s water, those who live in Town of Poestenkill have become very concerned about their own drinking water.

Rensselaer County has been working with the DEC to test some wells in the area.

Tonight, a Poestenkill town board meeting was held.

PFOA testing in Poestenkill

A resolution to allow the Town of Poestenkill to pay for the testing of PFOS contaminates in resident’s drinking water did not pass in a vote of 3 to 2.

Some members of the board wanted the legislation to be more specific, especially when it comes to the radius of the testing area.

Adding that at this point, it’s unclear if the state would reimburse the town for sending money on testing.

“It was extremely disappointing,” said Susan Gibbons, who lives in Poestenkill.

“Very, very disappointing.”

Many voiced their concerns in this heated meeting.

PFOA found at two more residences in Poestenkill

Several community members made it known that they are in favor of the free testing and feel as though the investigation being conducted by the DEC and Rensselaer County is not moving fast enough.

When News 10 abc’s Jamie DeLine asked the DEC about the speed of the investigation, Sean Mahar, chief of staff for NYS Department of Environmental conservation sharing this response.

“Well, it’s happening in the right way to really give us the scientific information we need to potentially build a case against a potential polluter or really evaluate whether this is an isolated incident or is more wide spread,” said Mahar.

“But we need the science and the data to do that."

"And you need to do that in a very stepwise approach and it’s very much underway in Poestenkill right now, and it’s moving in the right way scientifically.”


Rensselaer County expanding PFAS testing in Poestenkill

Currently, it’s unclear were the contamination is coming from and some water samples have tested higher than others.

There are residents who have paid for water testing on their own, and as a precaution, have been drinking bottled water instead.

https://www.news10.com/news/town-legisl ... -not-pass/
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Re: THE PAUL PLANTE STORY

Post by thelivyjr »

23 MAY 2023

The Honorable Kathy Hochul
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

RE: On the culture of corruption of your NYSDEC continued; the on-going Poestenkill PFAS Whitewash; NYSDEC fraud and dishonesty to protect a politically-powerful polluter

Dear Governor Hochul:

As you will recall, on 14 May 2023, I sent you a writing RE: On the culture of corruption of your NYSDEC; the on-going Poestenkill PFAS Whitewash; Why are your NYSDEC and NYSDOH untruthful; Why are your NYSDEC and NYSDOH protecting a politically-powerful polluter in Poestenkill (T), Rensselaer County, as opposed to protecting and safeguarding the lives, health and property of the residents of Poestenkill?

I began that writing by stating that as the Governor of New York, you personally have a duty to the citizens of this state, including myself, pursuant to §3 of Article IV of the New York State Constitution, to "take care that the laws are faithfully executed,"

I then reminded you that given the clear and unambiguous statutory language of New York State Environmental Conservation Law § 3-0103, wherein is stated “The head of the department shall be the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation, who shall * * * * hold office at the pleasure of the Governor by whom he was appointed,” that section of law makes you personally responsible for any and all acts of misfeasance (a transgression, especially the wrongful exercise of lawful authority), malfeasance (wrongdoing, especially by a public official), and nonfeasance (failure to perform an act that is required by law) by your NYSDEC, which acts would include concealing evidence and blatantly lying to the public to protect a politically-powerful polluter in Poestenkill, as was recently done by your NYSDEC in an official NYSDEC document titled “April 2023 Community Update – Poestenkill Area PFAS Contamination,” wherein was stated as follows, to wit:

INVESTIGATION SUMMARY

The State and County’s extensive investigation suggests there is no industrial source contributing to the PFAS detected in drinking water at or near the Algonquin Middle School.


(emphasis added)

As I stated therein, on its face, the statement that a so-called “extensive investigation” can at best merely “suggest” something is absurd, especially so when the words are uttered by a New York State licensed professional engineer, which is a clear sign the professional engineer is incompetent and unfit to hold the license, and it makes a complete mockery of the word “extensive,” which is taken by a competent licensed professional engineer such as myself to mean “comprehensive” and “thorough” as in full accordance with the regulatory language of DER-10 Technical Guidance For Site Investigation and Remediation - May 2010, where in Chapter 3, Site Characterization and Remedial Investigation, in section 3.1, Site Characterization and Remedial Investigation Overview, (a) Site Characterization, the chapter sets forth guidance for characterization of a site, pursuant to an oversight document identified in paragraph 1.2(d).

As was stated previously, that technical guidance document, which is not a mere suggestion, even though your NYSDEC treats it as such, states thusly concerning site characterization, as follows:

The remedial program for a site requiring a site characterization (SC) is completed in the steps detailed in this chapter, beginning with the site characterization and concluding, where necessary, with a remedial investigation (RI).

1. The SC is designed to determine whether a site poses little or no threat to public health and the environment or if it poses a threat and whether the threat requires further investigation. The SC gathers the information necessary to characterize whether site-related contamination requires further action pursuant to one of the DER remedial programs identified in section 1.2.

2. A SC requires a records search followed, if needed, by field characterization. The purpose of a SC is to identify potentially contaminated areas at a site. It includes the gathering of sufficient information to determine whether the site requires further investigation or remediation. The steps in the SC process are:

i. a records search, conducted in accordance with Appendix 3A.


end quotes

As was previously stated, if in fact a truly “extensive” investigation had been conducted in this matter, it would have made it conclusive, not merely “suggestive,” that the Poestenkill transfer station, with its documented history of violations of law and permit, as well as a documented history of environmental abuse, was clearly the source of the PFAS contamination, especially since nearly a year ago now, in June of 2022, the NYSDEC posted on its website a 20 June 2022 report of Barton & Loguidice Geologists on behalf of Waste Management of New York, LLC, the politically-powerful operator of the DEC-regulated Poestenkill transfer station, which report made it patently clear that between 2018 and June of 2022, a conservative estimate of some 206,379 gallons of leachate containing some 100 ppt of PFOA, 41 ppt of PFOS, 22 ppt of PFBS, 30 ppt of PFHpA, 37 ppt of PFPeA, 39 ppt of PFHxS, 62 ppt of PFHxS, and 250 ppt PFHxA generated at the Poestenkill transfer station were discharged to the environment in Poestenkill.

With respect to the contamination of Poestenkill’s groundwater as a result of deliberately culpable negligence on the part of NYSDEC, had the NYSDEC actually conducted an honest investigation as opposed to a dishonest cover-up and whitewash, and had they conducted the records search, which should have taken place right at the beginning of a legitimate investigation, which this clown show and farce to protect Waste Management of New York, LLC, the permittees of the Poestenkill transfer station, clearly was not, they would have come across this following writing from myself as a professional engineer on January 7, 1998 to Hon. John Cahill, Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, RE: USA Waste/United Waste Facility at intersection of Rtes. 66 and 351, Town of Poestenkill, Rensselaer County, wherein was stated in relevant part with respect to exactly how the PFAS groundwater contamination in Poestenkill came to be, and it makes it incandescently clear that not only was the NYSDEC aware of environmental abuses at the Poestenkill transfer station, but it had put its blessings on that conduct, that at an official Poestenkill town board meeting, to wit:

Recently, a DEC permitted garbage transfer station was constructed just to the south and east of my home, approximately one-quarter of a mile distant.

When originally permitted, this transfer station was owned by Benson Brothers and the original permit allowed one hundred (100) cubic yards of municipal solid waste per day.

One hundred (100) cubic yards of municipal solid waste per day in the original Benson Brothers permit was calculated as one (1) transfer trailer per day or approximately thirty (30) tons of municipal solid waste per day.

Almost immediately thereafter, however, a national trash hauling company, United Waste, assumed control of the Benson Brothers operation and now there are hundreds of tons of trash per day being rammed through this facility.

Since the facility design does not readily accommodate this large volume of trash, trash is dumped out of the backs of the packer trucks on to the ground, and the “pus,” or hopper juice contained in the trucks goes out onto the ground, where it is free to simply make its way into the environment, since there is no leachate collection system in place at the facility, nor is the ground outside the transfer station paved or in any way protected.

Since each packer truck can have more than one hundred gallons of hopper juice contained within it, and since each packer truck contains around twenty (20) tons of garbage, at two hundred (200) tons per day, some one thousand (1000) or more gallons of contaminated hopper juice are being discharged into the environment by this facility on a daily basis.

I have just returned to my home from a site visit of this facility with Mr. Steve Vallee, the facility manager, and at the time of that site visit, approximately 2:30 P.M., the ground surface for several hundred feet in from Rte. 66 was covered to a depth of several inches of grey scummy pus.

When I pointed this out to Mr. Vallee as we were literally wading through this pus, his response to me was that Richard Forgea, an engineer with your Region IV Office, did not see any problems with this kind of environmental abuse and in Mr. Forgea’s alleged opinion, “this probably would not cause any problems.”

Now, for the record, these comments of Mr. Forgea which were relied on by Mr. Vallee today as an imprimatur on these continued discharges were not made “off the cuff” somewhere.

To the contrary, they were made recently at a public meeting in Poestenkill Town Hall where many other concerned residents of the town were present to protest this and other problems associated with this operation, and they were made in the context of an excuse for continued inaction on halting this practice by either the DEC, the Town of Poestenkill, or USA Waste which took over United Waste and now operates the transfer station.

* * * * *

During the original Article 78, I defended a challenge of my standing to bring on the Article 78 by pointing to records in the DEC’s own files pertaining to an oil spill just to the west of the transfer station (about 300 feet) which contaminated my well and several other wells to the west of the transfer station.

The point that I made with respect to possible groundwater contamination as a result of the transfer station operations in that original Article 78 was that it is a matter of record the subsurface strata in this entire area is fractured shale which readily allows the entry and transport of contaminants, as was proved by the oil spill, and that a large transfer station without leachate collection in place would almost certainly serve to impact the groundwater in this area, which I am dependent on for my drinking water and other household usages.

The DEC, by and through the Attorney General’s Office, never challenged that factual data about the oil spill and its documented adverse impact on my well, nor did it deny that the transfer station would pose a serious environmental concern with respect to groundwater contamination if it were to be operated as proposed without any form of leachate collection in place.

* * * * *

Undeterred by the law, however, the Region IV Office locked me out of the process by threats and simply handed out another permit to Benson Brothers/United Waste and now there is a virtual nightmare operating under DEC permit at the corner of Rtes. 66 and 351, and your Mr. Forgea is blessing this situation with contaminated pus spread over several acres of unprotected ground with the excuse in a public meeting in the Town of Poestenkill that he sees no problems with it.

* * * * *

It was apparent to me from my conversation with Mr. Vallee today that as long as Mr. Forgea continues to put his blessing on this situation, no action will be taken by USA Waste to correct the problem, and hence this letter to your Office, to protest this on-going practice in the strongest possible terms.


end quotes

So when the NYSDEC tells us in its official NYSDEC document titled “April 2023 Community Update – Poestenkill Area PFAS Contamination” that the “State and County’s extensive investigation suggests there is no industrial source contributing to the PFAS detected in drinking water at or near the Algonquin Middle School,” that is a patently-stupid, bald-faced, intentional lie being told by people who do not belong in state service, and they and their lies are your responsibility as Governor because pursuant to New York State Environmental Conservation Law § 3-0103, the NYSDEC dances to the tune that you call!

So while the window of opportunity is still open, if you wish to change the perception that your blessing as governor is on the whitewash, your choice is clear – tell your NYSDEC to withdraw those lies and then remove the guilty parties from state service.

Thanking you in advance for your prompt attention to this serious matter, I remain

Sincerely,

Paul R. Plante, NYSPE
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Re: THE PAUL PLANTE STORY

Post by thelivyjr »

25 MAY 2023

Lisa Garcia
Administrator
US EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
New York, New York
10007-1866

RE: Your oversight of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Duplicity, fraud, dishonesty and neglect of duty by NYSDEC; The April 2023 NYSDEC Poestenkill PFAS Whitewash to protect a politically-powerful polluter; Making and filing of false reports by NYSDEC to exonerate a politically-powerful polluter

Dear EPA Administrator Garcia:

By way of review, as we can clearly see from the executive summary of a Final Report of U.S. EPA Region 2, State Review Program Framework – FY 2005, Review of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Enforcement and Compliance Programs, dated September 27, 2006, the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which has oversight responsibility of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), has previously been made aware of enforcement deficiencies with respect to the policies of the NYSDEC, which deficiencies are known in New York State as “regulatory insufficiency,” or plain old neglect of duty, on the part of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation with regard to protection of water resources in New York state, to wit:

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Overall Picture

This report documents the findings and recommendations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) review of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (NYSDEC) compliance monitoring and enforcement program based on the State Review Framework.

The report includes recommendations for improvement in each of the air, water and RCRA program areas, as well as, in areas of general enforcement policies and procedures applicable across all programs.

EPA and NYSDEC have agreed to work together to resolve these issues.

For the water program, NYSDEC acknowledges EPA’s findings resulting from the State Review Framework Audit and both parties have agreed that implementation of this recommendation will be negotiated via the workplan process.

It is anticipated the EPA will conduct a review of NYSDEC in two years to determine the status of the issues identified in this report.

Overarching Issues among the Enforcement Programs Reviewed

6) CWA (Clean Water Act) Suspended Penalties - The majority of the enforcement actions issued contained suspended penalties (100% suspended with a few partial suspensions).

Of fifteen (15) enforcement actions that assessed a penalty, nine (9) had some form of penalty suspension.

Of the nine suspended penalties, four were suspended entirely without any evident justification.

NYSDEC acknowledges EPA’s findings resulting from the State Review Framework Audit has indicated that it has already taken steps to issue directives regarding suspension of all penalties.


end quotes

Now, with respect to this communication, while the NYSDEC might have given your agency some empty lip service with regard to acknowledging those EPA findings, the fact of the matter in this instant case is that not only were there no enforcement actions taken by NYSDEC with respect to the PFAS contamination of the groundwater in the southeast corner of the town of Poestenkill, Rensselaer County, which contamination included the well field of a New York State Department of Health-regulated public water supply serving the Algonquin Middle School in Poestenkill, which public water supply serves over 700 people including children, but further, the NYSDEC bent over backwards to protect the polluter by burying facts and creating fictions in their place in a false report of investigation in April of 2023, which false report exonerated the polluter by shifting the blame over to the school and the homeowners in the area, of which I happen to be one.

For the record, in this instant matter, based on a 20 June 2022 report of Barton & Loguidice Geologists (B&L) on behalf of Waste Management of New York, LLC, the politically-powerful operator of the DEC-regulated Poestenkill transfer station, which report was posted as a public record on the NYSDEC website, between 2018 and June of 2022, a conservative estimate of some 206,379 gallons of leachate containing some 100 ppt of PFOA, 41 ppt of PFOS, 22 ppt of PFBS, 30 ppt of PFHpA, 37 ppt of PFPeA, 39 ppt of PFHxS, 62 ppt of PFHxS, and 250 ppt PFHxA generated at the Poestenkill transfer station were discharged to the environment in Poestenkill.

How that conservative estimate of the gallons emitted by the transfer station into the environment was arrived at was by first taking the known figures in that B&L report for gallons of leachate pumped from the leachate storage tank on the site for that period of time, and by then making a conservative estimate that the so-called onsite leachate collection system was capturing twenty-five (25) percent of the total amount of leachate being brought on-site in what is known as “hopper juice,” the liquid inside the garbage trucks, to arrive at the figure of 206,379 gallons of leachate being discharged into the environment in Poestenkill, and since these are NYSDEC’s own figures, they cannot be disputed, and the 25% capture rate is deemed quite generous by this engineer, so the amount is likely larger.

As to that so-called “leachate collection system,” in the NYSDEC records there is an April 11, 2022 letter from Eric Hausamann, NYSPE 072068 of the NYSDEC to Waste Management of New York, LLC, Attn: Warren Harris, Sr. District Manager, RE: Poestenkill Transfer Station, Poestenkill (T), Rensselaer County, on March 3, 2022, wherein is stated as follows, to wit:

Dear Mr. Harris:

On March 3, 2022, DEC staff from the Division of Remediation accompanied by Division of Materials Management staff from the Region 4 office, conducted an inspection of the transfer facility as part of its evaluation of potential PFAS sources in the Poestenkill area impacting the Algonquin Middle School water supply (DER Spill No. 2100195).

During our inspection, DEC noted the location of the underground leachate storage tank and associated infrastructure reportedly used to collect liquids originating from the tipping floor building.

DEC was unable to observe the floor drain since it was covered with a large pile of garbage and therefore could not confirm whether the leachate collection system was functioning properly.


end quotes

So, the NYSDEC itself cannot prove the floor drain functions, at all, and has no proof it functions, and as this factual report will amply demonstrate, when the floor drain is covered with huge mounds of garbage, two hundred (200) tons worth per day, the leachate is unable to make it to the floor drain, and so goes out into the environment, instead.

As will be seen in the body of this report, however, in its April 2023 on-line report titled Community Update – Poestenkill Area PFAS Contamination, the NYSDEC falsely assumes one hundred (100) percent efficiency for the leachate collection system, which is dishonest and a fraud on the public.

Thus, from the following, it would seem that your oversight of the NYSDEC has fallen short of its objectives with regard to the protection of our groundwater resources here in Poestenkill, and the purpose of this communication is to bring that matter to your personal attention.

NYSDEC’S ESTABLISHED HISTORY OF REGULATORY INSUFFICENCY

As to the long and well-documented record of collusion and duplicitous conduct of the NYSDEC with respect to groundwater protection going back to the 1970s, the first time we in Poestenkill came across the term "regulatory insufficiency" as applied to the same duplicitous conduct of the DEC as was the case in this instant matter, was in a DEC Hearing Officer's Report dated February 9, 1976 in connection with the PCBs in the Hudson River, the biggest superfund site in the USA, courtesy of the lax enforcement and looking the other way by NYSDEC itself.

This DEC hearing officer's report came just six years after the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation came into being as a result of the people of the State of New York amending the Constitution to make protection of the waters of the State a matter of statewide concern.

That Hearing Officer's Report states as follows with respect to the same DEC regulatory insufficiency that caused the PFAS contamination of Poestenkill’s groundwater in this instant matter, to wit:

In this interim opinion, the hearing officer holds that General Electric Company's (GE) discharges of PCB's (polychlorinated biphenyls) into the upper Hudson River violate the New York Environmental Conservation Law (ECL):

GE's PCB discharges are toxic substances capable of causing skin lesions, destroying body cells, adversely affecting reproduction and inducing cancer and death.

As an affirmative defense, GE asserts that its conduct is immunized from state law penalties by virtue of its being specifically authorized in a series of permits granted under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.

This defense must fail, for all GE permits have contained language specifically prohibiting violation of state water quality standards.

The system seems clearly to place on the would-be discharger, whose influence with the agency might itself cause or contribute to regulatory insufficiency, the burden of insuring that the discharge violates no other federal, state or local prohibitions.


end quote

Accordingly, as a direct result of that regulatory insufficiency by the DEC in the early-1970s, the upper Hudson River is now the nation's largest Superfund site.

And as a result of the same regulatory insufficiency in this instant matter, the groundwater of Poestenkill is now contaminated with PFAS emanating from a NYSDEC-regulated garbage transfer station in Poestenkill operated by Waste Management of New York, LLC, under NYSDEC permit, this while the NYSDEC tries to shift the blame for the PFAS contamination over onto the homeowners in the area in a vain attempt to exonerate itself and the operator of the transfer station from blame.

So much for the mission of the NYSDEC "to conserve, improve and protect New York's natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being," and so much as well for EPA oversight of the NYSDEC.

THE INTENTIONALLY FALSE REPORT OF THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION TO EXONERATE A POLITICALLY-POWERFUL POLLUTER

Coming forward in time from the Hudson River PCB’s debacle to the present, in April of 2023, the New York State Department of Environmental issued an on-line report titled Community Update – Poestenkill Area PFAS Contamination wherein was stated as follows, to wit:

Multiple Low-Level Sources of PFAS Are Likely Cause

The New York State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Health (DOH), and the Rensselaer County Department of Health (RCDOH), are working together to protect public health and the environment in the Poestenkill community.

Working together, State and County agencies have investigated the known potential sources of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination, including the local waste transfer station, lumber yard, a manufacturing facility, former landfill, former speedway, former car wash, tire disposal area, and the Algonquin Middle School property.

In addition, wastewater discharges (septic systems) were also considered as potential sources of PFAS.

The investigation did not identify an industrial source for this contamination.


end quotes

The reality of the situation, however, is that the so-called “investigation” did not identify a source for the contamination precisely because the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation along with the New York State Department of Health, the Rensselaer County Department of Health and the Town of Poestenkill were acting together to shield the source, which is the Poestenkill transfer station at the intersection of NY 66 & 351 in Poestenkill operated by NYSDEC permittee Waste Management of New York, LLC, and regulated by the Town of Poestenkill as a Planned Development District and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as a solid waste management facility, by conducting a whitewash.

But for the negligence and neglect of duty of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Department of Health, the Rensselaer County Department of Health and the Town of Poestenkill, that contamination should never have happened.

THE WHITEWASH

From a review of the record, it is crystal clear that right from the time PFAS was found in the drinking water of the Algonquin Middle School in Poestenkill in January of 2021 that there was going to be a whitewash and cover-up of the source, as can be seen in a WNYT-TV article titled "Poestenkill residents decry 'slow progress' in PFOA probe" on September 28, 2021, as follows:

POESTENKILL - With chemicals in their drinking water, the angst came bubbling to the surface during a standing room only meeting Monday night in Poestenkill.

Unlike PFOA discoveries in Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh, which was linked to industrial sources, the origin in Poestenkill remains unknown.

"We should recognize that you're not always going to find an industrial source," said Gary Ginsburg of the state Department of Health.


end quotes

That statement was and is patently absurd, given the presence of the Poestenkill transfer station with its documented record of spills in plain sight on high ground right across from the Algonquin School, and yet, it was delivered with a straight face by Dr. Ginsburg, who directs the NYS DOH Center for Environmental Health (CEH), a Center which administers and coordinates water supply protection across NYS.

Similarly, Rensselaer County Associate Public Health Engineer Richard Elder, NYSPE, was quoted in a Times Union article titled “Rensselaer County expands PFOA testing in Poestenkill” by Kenneth C. Crowe II on September 22, 2021, as follows, to wit:

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

end quote

And in an Albany, New York Times Union article titled "Poestenkill receives $3.3 million state water grant but still doesn't know PFOA source" by Kenneth C. Crowe II on November 8, 2022, this being one hundred forty-one (141) days after being appraised that the source was the Poestenkill transfer station in June of 2022, Poestenkill town supervisor Keith Hammond was quoted as follows, to wit:

POESTENKILL – The town has received a state grant that will pay for 60 percent of the estimated $5.5 million cost to create a municipal water district that would serve the area around Algonquin Middle School where PFOA/PFOS contamination has been found in local wells.

The source of the contamination has yet to be discovered and testing is still taking place.

Hammond said he has been in contact with the state and the agencies are continuing to work on the contamination issues.

He said he doesn’t anticipate there will be an industrial source for the contamination.


end quotes

As the record clearly demonstrates, on November 8, 2022, Hammond did not anticipate an industrial source for the contamination would be found because on November 8, 2022, he knew the NYSDEC was going to cover up the source, and in April of 2023, that prophecy for Hammond came true with the publication by NYSDEC of its on-line report titled Community Update – Poestenkill Area PFAS Contamination wherein was stated as follows, to wit:

The investigation did not identify an industrial source for this contamination.

NYSDEC DUPLICITY, FRAUD AND DISHONESTY ON DISPLAY IN NYSDEC’S FALSE REPORT TO EXONERATE WASTE MANAGEMENT OF NEW YORK, LLC

As is readily apparent from the above, that the so-called investigation was not going to identify an industrial source for this PFAS contamination as a matter of intent right at the outset on the part of NYSDEC, NYSDOH, the RCHD and the town of Poestenkill, was made crystal clear to the residents of Poestenkill on 27 September 2021 in the same community meeting where Gary Ginsburg of the state Department of Health stated "We should recognize that you're not always going to find an industrial source," by then-Poestenkill water manager Robert Brunet, as follows:

"These problems are caused by wells."

end quote

Some five hundred fifty (550) or more days later, not at all surprisingly given the nature of the whitewash to protect Waste Management of New York, LLC, in April of 2023, the NYSDEC on-line report titled Community Update – Poestenkill Area PFAS Contamination deftly shifted the blame for the PFAS contamination in Poestenkill as follows:

The investigation findings suggest that PFAS detections in private wells are likely emanating from non-point sources of wastewater.

end quote

The word “suggest” in that statement, which word is hardly the term a competent professional engineer would use to describe the outcome of a supposed “intensive” investigation, is commonly taken to mean “put forward for consideration,” or “cause one to think that (something) exists or is the case,” and when used in the same sentence as the word “likely,” which is defined as “such as well might happen or be true,” it is a clear sign to a competent professional engineer that the statement is in fact contrived for the sole purpose of misleading the residents of Poestenkill who do not have technical training or regulatory backgrounds coupled with a lack of knowledge of how a groundwater contamination investigation should be conducted, and thus that statement is duplicitous and dishonest, which is to say, intended to mislead or cheat, as we see by going back to the NYSDEC on-line report titled Community Update – Poestenkill Area PFAS Contamination, where we have as follows, to wit:

Information collected over the last 18 months suggests multiple low-level sources of PFAS are contributing to the PFAS observed in drinking water.

end quotes

There we have the weasel word, a word used in order to evade or retreat from a direct or forthright statement or position, “suggest” yet again, and a review of the record fails to discover or disclose exactly what this “information” suggesting multiple low-level sources of PFAS are contributing to the PFAS observed in drinking water might in fact actually be, or where the information was derived from, other than the fervent imagination of the author of the NYSDEC on-line report titled Community Update – Poestenkill Area PFAS Contamination, where we have further as follows, to wit

INVESTIGATION SUMMARY

The State and County’s extensive investigation suggests there is no industrial source contributing to the PFAS detected in drinking water at or near the Algonquin Middle School.

The results indicate that the geologic conditions are conducive for surface water and shallow groundwater to mix with the deeper aquifer zone, which currently serves as the school’s drinking water supply.


end quotes

And there, yet again, we find the word “suggest” being used in the same sentence as the term “extensive investigation,” and speaking as a New York State licensed professional engineer further qualified as an associate level public health engineer in New York State, the statement that a so-called “extensive investigation” can at best merely “suggest” something is absurd, especially so when the words are uttered by a New York State licensed professional engineer employed by NYSDEC, which is a clear sign the professional engineer is incompetent and unfit to hold the license, and it makes a complete mockery of the word “extensive,” which is taken by a competent licensed professional engineer such as myself to mean “comprehensive” and “thorough” as in full accordance with the regulatory language of DER-10 Technical Guidance For Site Investigation and Remediation - May 2010, where in Chapter 3, Site Characterization and Remedial Investigation, in section 3.1, Site Characterization and Remedial Investigation Overview, (a) Site Characterization, the chapter sets forth guidance for characterization of a site, pursuant to an oversight document identified in paragraph 1.2(d).

That technical guidance document, which is not a mere suggestion, even though the NYSDEC treats it as such, states thusly concerning site characterization, as follows:

The remedial program for a site requiring a site characterization (SC) is completed in the steps detailed in this chapter, beginning with the site characterization and concluding, where necessary, with a remedial investigation (RI).

1. The SC is designed to determine whether a site poses little or no threat to public health and the environment or if it poses a threat and whether the threat requires further investigation. The SC gathers the information necessary to characterize whether site-related contamination requires further action pursuant to one of the DER remedial programs identified in section 1.2.

2. A SC requires a records search followed, if needed, by field characterization. The purpose of a SC is to identify potentially contaminated areas at a site. It includes the gathering of sufficient information to determine whether the site requires further investigation or remediation. The steps in the SC process are:

i. a records search, conducted in accordance with Appendix 3A.


end quotes

With respect to the contamination of Poestenkill’s groundwater as a result of culpable negligence on the part of NYSDEC, had the NYSDEC actually conducted an honest investigation in this matter as opposed to a dishonest cover-up and whitewash, and had they conducted the records search, which should have taken place right at the beginning of a legitimate investigation, which this clown show and farce to protect Waste Management of New York, LLC, the permittees of the Poestenkill transfer station, clearly was not, they would have come across this following writing from myself as a professional engineer on January 7, 1998 to Hon. John Cahill, Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, RE: USA Waste/United Waste Facility at intersection of Rtes. 66 and 351, Town of Poestenkill, Rensselaer County, wherein was stated in relevant part with respect to exactly how the PFAS groundwater contamination in Poestenkill came to be, and it makes it incandescently clear that not only was the NYSDEC aware of environmental abuses at the Poestenkill transfer station, but it had put its blessings on that conduct, that at an official Poestenkill town board meeting, to wit:

Recently, a DEC permitted garbage transfer station was constructed just to the south and east of my home, approximately one-quarter of a mile distant.

When originally permitted, this transfer station was owned by Benson Brothers and the original permit allowed one hundred (100) cubic yards of municipal solid waste per day.

One hundred (100) cubic yards of municipal solid waste per day in the original Benson Brothers permit was calculated as one (1) transfer trailer per day or approximately thirty (30) tons of municipal solid waste per day.

Almost immediately thereafter, however, a national trash hauling company, United Waste, assumed control of the Benson Brothers operation and now there are hundreds of tons of trash per day being rammed through this facility.

Since the facility design does not readily accommodate this large volume of trash, trash is dumped out of the backs of the packer trucks on to the ground, and the “pus,” or hopper juice contained in the trucks goes out onto the ground, where it is free to simply make its way into the environment, since there is no leachate collection system in place at the facility, nor is the ground outside the transfer station paved or in any way protected.

Since each packer truck can have more than one hundred gallons of hopper juice contained within it, and since each packer truck contains around twenty (20) tons of garbage, at two hundred (200) tons per day, some one thousand (1000) or more gallons of contaminated hopper juice are being discharged into the environment by this facility on a daily basis.

I have just returned to my home from a site visit of this facility with Mr. Steve Vallee, the facility manager, and at the time of that site visit, approximately 2:30 P.M., the ground surface for several hundred feet in from Rte. 66 was covered to a depth of several inches of grey scummy pus.

When I pointed this out to Mr. Vallee as we were literally wading through this pus, his response to me was that Richard Forgea, an engineer with your Region IV Office, did not see any problems with this kind of environmental abuse and in Mr. Forgea’s alleged opinion, “this probably would not cause any problems.”

Now, for the record, these comments of Mr. Forgea which were relied on by Mr. Vallee today as an imprimatur on these continued discharges were not made “off the cuff” somewhere.

To the contrary, they were made recently at a public meeting in Poestenkill Town Hall where many other concerned residents of the town were present to protest this and other problems associated with this operation, and they were made in the context of an excuse for continued inaction on halting this practice by either the DEC, the Town of Poestenkill, or USA Waste which took over United Waste and now operates the transfer station.

* * * * *

During the original Article 78, I defended a challenge of my standing to bring on the Article 78 by pointing to records in the DEC’s own files pertaining to an oil spill just to the west of the transfer station (about 300 feet) which contaminated my well and several other wells to the west of the transfer station.

The point that I made with respect to possible groundwater contamination as a result of the transfer station operations in that original Article 78 was that it is a matter of record the subsurface strata in this entire area is fractured shale which readily allows the entry and transport of contaminants, as was proved by the oil spill, and that a large transfer station without leachate collection in place would almost certainly serve to impact the groundwater in this area, which I am dependent on for my drinking water and other household usages.

The DEC, by and through the Attorney General’s Office, never challenged that factual data about the oil spill and its documented adverse impact on my well, nor did it deny that the transfer station would poise a serious environmental concern withy respect to groundwater contamination if it were to be operated as proposed without any form of leachate collection in place.

* * * * *

Undeterred by the law, however, the Region IV Office locked me out of the process by threats and simply handed out another permit to Benson Brothers/United Waste and now there is a virtual nightmare operating under DEC permit at the corner of Rtes. 66 and 351, and your Mr. Forgea is blessing this situation with contaminated pus spread over several acres of unprotected ground with the excuse in a public meeting in the Town of Poestenkill that he sees no problems with it.

* * * * *

It was apparent to me from my conversation with Mr. Vallee today that as long as Mr. Forgea continues to put his blessing on this situation, no action will be taken by USA Waste to correct the problem, and hence this letter to your Office, to protest this on-going practice in the strongest possible terms.


end quotes

Subsequent thereto, on February 18, 1998, this professional engineer followed that letter up with another letter to Hon. John Cahill, Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, RE: USA Waste/United Waste Facility at intersection of Rtes. 66 and 351, Town of Poestenkill, Rensselaer County, wherein was stated as follows, to wit:

Dear Commissioner Cahill:

At about 11:15 A.M. on Wednesday, February 18, 1998, I arrived at the United Waste/USA Waste facility at the intersection of NYS Routes 66 and 351 in the Town of Poestenkill, Rensselaer County.

Once there, I requested an opportunity to speak with Mr. Steve Vallee, the facility manager.

On being advised that Mr. Vallee was not at the facility, I went to see Mr. Tom Nero, Mr. Vallee's deputy at the Poestenkill facility.

I informed Mr. Nero that I wished an opportunity to view what was being called "an in-place leachate collection system" by the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

With that said, Mr. Nero and myself walked in a northerly direction from his office to the upper level of the transfer station.

As we were walking to the transfer station, we were literally walking through a grey viscous pus that covered the ground.

Once at the transfer station, I was allowed an opportunity to walk inside the facility and inspect the working floor.

There are two bays in the upper level at the transfer station - a north bay and a south bay - with entry doors located in the westerly end of the building.

In what would be the south-west corner of the transfer station, I noticed that the floor of the facility was depressed or subsided so that there was a large pool of viscous, grey liquid collected there.

This pool of liquid was approximately four (4') feet in diameter and several inches in depth.

Each time that the large Mitsubishi loader employed by United Waste to move trash forward on the tipping floor would enter or exit the building in the south bay, which it did several times while I was there, its tires would displace this grey, viscous liquid and it would then flow out of the south bay door in the westerly end of the building, out onto the unpaved, untreated ground and into the environment.

Similarly, whenever trucks would enter the facility, they too would displace the liquid and it would flow out the westerly end of the building onto the unpaved, untreated ground and into the environment.

In the south bay, easterly of this depressed or subsided area, the floor of the facility was coated with a thick grey, viscous layer and on top of that was what appeared to be a layer of hydraulic fluid.

Each time that the large Mitsubishi loader would pass through the south bay, it would further emulsify this mixture, which was flowing westerly into the depressed or subsided area, and thence out the south bay door in the westerly end of the building and into the environment.

The floor in the north bay as similarly coated, and that floor was noted to tip from east to west so that there was an observable flow of liquid in a westerly direction, out of the north bay door, onto the unpaved, untreated ground and into the environment.

When I asked Mr. Nero about the functioning of the center drain which I had observed back in 1993 or 1994 when the facility was being constructed, Mr. Nero informed that the center drain was not working.

In fact, according to Mr. Nero, on Friday, February 13, 1998, and Saturday, February 14, 1998, United Waste had "dug up" the center portion to the floor where the floor drain was located in order to pour new concrete because the heavy equipment now employed by United Waste to ram 200 tons per day through this 30 ton per day facility had destroyed the floor in that area as well as the floor drain.

While I watched, Mr. Nero had the equipment operator in the facility move the pile of garbage covering over the area of the center floor drain so I could inspect it.

What I observed was an approximate four (4") inch diameter hole in the concrete floor of the facility that was plugged by debris and a "blue rag."

None of the considerable volume of grey, viscous liquid on the floor of the facility was making its way towards this four inch hole for several reasons, to wit:

a) with the subsidence of the floors in the north and south bays, and with the pouring of new concrete in the center of the facility, the floor in the center of the facility now appears to be higher than the floors around it, so that liquid flows away from the floor drain; and

b) the garbage mounded up in the center of the floor precludes the flow of liquid towards its center; rather, the liquid flows from the mounded-up garbage along the path of least resistance, which is out of the north and south bay doors and into the environment.

After discerning and confirming that there was no leachate collection system in place or working on the tipping floor at about 11:30 A.M. on Wednesday, February 18, 1998, Mr. Nero and myself than made our way down to the lower level where the transfer trailers are parked while being loaded from the tipping floor.

The lower level runs from south to north on the easterly end of the transfer station, and Mr. Nero and myself stood outside the south door, looking north, while a transfer trailer was filled from above.

The floor where the transfer trailer was parked was covered with standing water to a depth of several inches.

This large pool of water extended well out of the building on the south side where Mr. Nero and I were standing on unpaved, untreated ground, and the pool of water in the building was filled with garbage which was continually falling from above while the transfer trailer was being loaded.

When I asked Mr. Nero about any leachate collection system to handle this water, his reply was that there is none, which confirmed my recollections of the inspections I had done as a New York State licensed professional engineer when this facility was being constructed circa 1993-1994.

To be complete about my investigation, I asked Mr. Nero about any leachate collection system in place to handle the grey, viscous pus which covered the unpaved, untreated ground outside the transfer station and his answer was that there is no such system, despite assertions of the New York State Environmental Conservation Commissioner and his engineer Forgea to the contrary.

So, Mr. Commissioner, based on my inspection earlier today, it would seem that in the fourth paragraph on page one of your letter to me of February 6, 1998, you are willfully making false statements and misrepresenting facts when you tell me, a New York State licensed professional engineer who is quite knowledgeable of leachate collection systems and the Part 360 regulations, that there is a leachate collection system in place and operating at the facility, and it would further seem that your engineer Forgea is openly and willfully lying to the residents of the Town of Poestenkill when he tells them and me that "based on the design of the facility which includes leachate collection," the possibility of contamination of residential wells is "very remote."

Based upon the manner in which this transfer station is now being operated by United Waste/USA Waste under permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the possibility of contamination of residential wells, most probably mine, is almost a guaranteed certainty, and I do not appreciate being lied to about this matter by your office as though I were some kind of simpleton.

Never have I seen such gross dereliction of duty and willful negligence on the part of New York State officials as I have seen in this case from yourself and your engineer Forgea, and I do not intend to stand for it.

With respect to this alleged "investigation" that the Department allegedly conducted with full cooperation of the property owner, I am herewith demanding immediate access to all documents, reports, lab tests, etc. pertaining to that alleged "investigation" including any and all tests of the grey viscous pus which covers the unpaved and untreated ground at this site.


end quotes

So there, in plain language, we see exactly how the PFAS contamination of Poestenkill’s groundwater came to be as a direct result of NYSDEC’s negligence, neglect of duty and duplicity, and I would draw your attention to the fact that when that letter was written on February 18, 1998, the entire area outside the transfer station where the leachate from the transfer station was running and covering the ground was unpaved.

So that date of February 18, 1998 is an important data point with respect to the contamination of Poestenkill’s groundwater, given the ground in front of the transfer station was fractured shale, and at no time thereafter were the concerns stated in that letter ever addressed by NYSDEC, which takes us back to the present time and the NYSDEC report titled Community Update – Poestenkill Area PFAS Contamination, where we had as follows, to wit:

INVESTIGATION SUMMARY

The results indicate that the geologic conditions are conducive for surface water and shallow groundwater to mix with the deeper aquifer zone, which currently serves as the school’s drinking water supply.


end quote

Given that the geologic conditions in the area of the Poestenkill transfer station, in NYSDEC’s own words, are conducive for surface water and shallow groundwater to mix with the deeper aquifer zone, which currently serves as the school’s drinking water supply, it would logically follow that any and all contaminants in the leachate coming from the transfer station out onto the unpaved ground would make its way into the groundwater, as well.

But given it is a whitewash, not a serious investigation, the NYSDEC report makes absolutely no mention of that history, whatsoever, nor does it make any mention of a March 20, 1998 letter on NYSDEC stationary from A. N. Henningson, NYSDEC Deputy Permit Agent, Region 4, to Mr. Jeffrey R. Holt, P.E., Re: DEC # 4-3838-00023/00002, wherein was stated in relevant part as follows with respect to known leachate emissions from the Poestenkill transfer station, to wit:

Dear Mr. Holt:

Your application for this permit is incomplete for the following reasons:

The application must include:

1. A description and plans for the modification of the transfer building to allow for the direct dumping of waste into the open top transfer trailers.

The original application and subsequent modifications have described the transfer of waste inside the building as direct dump into the long haul trailers.

Section II “Material Handling Procedures” of the Operations & Maintenance Manual describes the transfer of waste as direct discharge from the packer trucks on the upper level to open top trailers on the lower level.

Current operation does not conform to this based on the original design of the facility.

The renewal should contain design changes that will be necessary to allow for conformance with this operation.

2. Modified site plans and a description of the areas to be paved to reduce dust and mud.

Site grading to promote separation of leachate from non-contaminated storm water run-off.

This should include an engineering evaluation of the effect the paving will have on run-off control.

In particular its impact on nearby water bodies or streams.

3. Drawings which show modification to the floor drain in the transfer station to provide assurance the drain remains free running during typical operation.

This may include the use of a wider opening and screening to prevent plugging.


(emphasis added)

end quotes

So clearly, from a review of the language of that letter, on March 20, 1998, the NYSDEC itself was well aware of serious leachate emission issues into the environment from this DEC-permitted facility, and a review of the record finds no evidence that such engineering evaluation of the effect the paving would have on run-off control was ever done.

Furthermore, the “mud” referred to in that communication was in fact contaminated soil, and instead of requiring the removal of that contaminated soil, the NYSDEC allowed it to be paved over, leaving those contaminants in place like a ticking time bomb, so that in the 20 June 2022 B&L report on the NYSDEC website, we find that on 3/23/2022, Well #1 just to the north of the transfer station, had reading of 2.5 ppt of PFOS and 11.0 ppt PFOA, which is an exceedance of the established New York State Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) drinking water standard value of 10 ppt.

Then on 4/20/ 2022, Well #1 had a reading of 2.9 ppt of PFOS, an unexplained increase of .4 ppt, and a reading of 15 ppt of PFOA, for an unexplained increase of 4.0 ppt, as well as another exceedance, which the NYSDEC is foolishly trying to attribute to septic systems in the area, an absurd statement in fact, given that the transfer station is on the highest ground in the area with no septic system nearby it.

For the record, no effort was made by either B&L or NYSDEC to explain the cause of those increases of PFOA and PFOS in Well #1, which failure makes this whole alleged investigation nothing more than a farce and a failed whitewash attempt.

That the NYSDEC was well aware on March 20, 1998 that the leachate on the ground was contaminated is made readily apparent by this sentence, to wit: Site grading to promote separation of leachate from non-contaminated storm water run-off.

As to what NYSDEC knew about contamination on that site from the leachate emissions, and when they knew it, in a March 8, 1999 letter to NYSDEC's Art Henningson, Rensselaer County Environmental Management Council Director Ken Dufty, commenting on an Order on Consent then being considered to address operating conditions and outstanding violations by the permittee at the Poestenkill transfer facility, stated as follows:

"We trust that this Order on Consent will address the underlying conditions which have resulted in dozens of complaints to this office, and hope that such an Order will not result in a recurrence of the operating conditions that were prevalent last summer and fall."

"Specifically, many of the complaints we received were directed towards the 'tipping' methods employed at the plant - operation procedures that were clearly not allowed or envisioned in the permit."

"Direct tipping of waste onto the transfer station floor, rather than into secured containers on the lower level and conducted entirely within a closed structure, while a violation of the permit terms, is additionally not allowed by regulation or law. [See 6 NYCRR 360-11.4(n)(1); also 6 NYCRR 360-11.3(a)(1), (3)]"

"Many of the complaints that we receive about the operation of this facility are a result of blowing litter, vectors, stench, noise, and idling trucks."

"Most of these objections are an extension of indirect tipping and spillage of waste outside of the building - an operating condition which clearly should not be allowed."

"Additionally, there is concern by area residents that indirect tipping has resulted in, and will continue to exacerbate, groundwater contamination."

"As you know, Toluene was detected in a residential well adjacent to the station early last year."

"This discovery has heightened our resolve to make sure that more attention is given to the methods of tipping and leachate collection at the Poestenkill facility."


end quotes

None of this information, however, shows up in the April 2023 NYSDEC Community Update – Poestenkill Area PFAS Contamination, where we have as follows concerning the Waste Management Transfer Station, to wit:

In April 2022, DEC directed Waste Management of New York (WMNY) to collect and analyze samples for PFAS from the underground leachate collection vault, the small pond, two former drinking water supply wells, and from any existing groundwater monitoring/supply wells (if present).

DEC also requested WMNY to provide documentation of leachate transported to and discharged to the Schenectady wastewater treatment plant over the past five years, as well as the results of any tests for leaks related to the facility’s leachate collection system.

Samples from four existing groundwater supply wells were collected in April 2022.

Of the four wells sampled, PFOA was detected above 10 ppt in one well, which is used for non-potable purposes, at a concentration of 15 ppt; PFOS was not detected above 10 ppt in any groundwater samples.

Surface water concentrations were also detected for PFOA and PFOS at 2.9 ppt and 7.6 ppt, respectively.

PFOA and PFOS were detected in wastewater within the leachate tank at concentrations of 100 ppt and 41 ppt, respectively.

WMNY’s June 2022 report documented no leaks related to the leachate collection system.

The tank is double walled with an alarm system between the inner and outer tanks that would detect the presence of liquid.

According to the report, more than 67,000 gallons of wastewater have been pumped and transported for appropriate disposal off site since 2018.

The WMNY report is available on DEC’s Poestenkill Assessment Area website: https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/124334.html

As mentioned previously, DEC installed four new overburden wells on the transfer station property to assess potential groundwater impacts due to waste handling activities and possible discharges from the leachate collection system.

PFOA and PFOS were detected in every groundwater sample but only one result exceeded 10 ppt (14 ppt of PFOS).

This sample was collected from the monitoring well located on the south side of the onsite surface water pond.

Soil sampling results for PFOA and PFOS were below guidance values for residential use.

Based on these results, as well as samples collected from the bedrock aquifer and the small pond showing only minor impacts on the WMNY property, the investigation did not identify a significant source of PFAS migrating off the transfer station property and contaminating area drinking water wells.

In addition, there is no evidence that the leachate collection system has failed or that the tank has leaked.


end quotes

As can clearly be seen from the above, despite the fact that on April 11, 2022 NYSDEC engineer Eric Hausamann, NYSPE 072068 had informed Warren Harris, Sr. District Manager, Waste Management of New York, LLC that on March 3, 2022, when DEC staff from the Division of Remediation accompanied by Division of Materials Management staff from the Region 4 office, conducted an inspection of the transfer facility as part of its evaluation of potential PFAS sources in the Poestenkill area impacting the Algonquin Middle School water supply (DER Spill No. 2100195), the DEC was unable to observe the floor drain since it was covered with a large pile of garbage and therefore could not confirm whether the leachate collection system was functioning properly, in its April 2023 NYSDEC Community Update – Poestenkill Area PFAS Contamination, the NYSDEC is falsely assuming one hundred (100) percent collection efficiency for the so-called leachate collection system, which as was stated above in this professional engineer’s February 18, 1998 report to Hon. John Cahill, Commissioner, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, RE: USA Waste/United Waste Facility at intersection of Rtes. 66 and 351, Town of Poestenkill, Rensselaer County, was nothing more than a small hole in the floor of the transfer station, and despite the March 20, 1998 letter on NYSDEC stationary from A. N. Henningson, NYSDEC Deputy Permit Agent, Region 4, to Mr. Jeffrey R. Holt, P.E., Re: DEC # 4-3838-00023/00002, wherein was stated in relevant part that Holt was to submit drawings to the NYSDEC showing modifications to the floor drain in the transfer station to provide assurance the drain remains free running during typical operation, including the use of a wider opening and screening to prevent plugging.

That is disingenuous, dishonest and a fraud on the public to protect NYSDEC from charges of gross negligence and Waste Management of New York, LLC, from charges of nuisance, negligence and trespass.

CONCLUSION

As can be seen from the above, presently, in New York State, the NYSDEC is free to lie through its teeth to the public with impunity to protect a politically-powerful polluter, as it is backed up by the Office of the Governor and enjoys the protection of the powerful political clout of the Office of the New York State Attorney General, and as a result, the affected residents of the Town of Poestenkill are powerless to protect themselves from the NYSDEC, which is the greatest threat to our health and safety and well-being in this state that we have, and absent strong enforcement actions by your agency, including criminal charges, nothing is going to change and the concept of environmental protection is rendered into a mere joke.

Thanking you in advance for your prompt attention to this serious matter, I remain

Respectfully,

Paul R. Plante, NYSPE
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Re: THE PAUL PLANTE STORY

Post by thelivyjr »

January 7, 1998

Mr. John Cahill
Commissioner
New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation
50 Wolf Road
Albany, New York 12233

RE: USA Waste/United Waste Facility at intersection of Rtes. 66 and 351, Town of Poestenkill, Rensselaer County

Dear Mr. Commissioner:

Recently, a DEC permitted garbage transfer station was constructed just to the south and east of my home, approximately one-quarter of a mile distant.

When originally permitted, this transfer station was owned by Benson Brothers and the original permit allowed one hundred (100) cubic yards of municipal solid waste per day.

One hundred (100) cubic yards of municipal solid waste per day in the original Benson Brothers permit was calculated as one (1) transfer trailer per day or approximately thirty (30) tons of municipal solid waste per day.

Almost immediately thereafter, however, a national trash hauling company, United Waste, assumed control of the Benson Brothers operation and now there are hundreds of tons of trash per day being rammed through this facility.

Since the facility design does not readily accommodate this large volume of trash, trash is dumped out of the backs of the packer trucks on to the ground, and the “pus,” or hopper juice contained in the trucks goes out onto the ground, where it is free to simply make its way into the environment, since there is no leachate collection system in place at the facility, nor is the ground outside the transfer station paved or in any way protected.

Since each packer truck can have more than one hundred gallons of hopper juice contained within it, and since each packer truck contains around twenty (20) tons of garbage, at two hundred (200) tons per day, some one thousand (1000) or more gallons of contaminated hopper juice are being discharged into the environment by this facility on a daily basis.

I have just returned to my home from a site visit of this facility with Mr. Steve Vallee, the facility manager, and at the time of that site visit, approximately 2:30 P.M., the ground surface for several hundred feet in from Rte. 66 was covered to a depth of several inches of grey scummy pus.

When I pointed this out to Mr. Vallee as we were literally wading through this pus, his response to me was that Richard Forgea, an engineer with your Region IV Office, did not see any problems with this kind of environmental abuse and in Mr. Forgea’s alleged opinion, “this probably would not cause any problems.”

Now, for the record, these comments of Mr. Forgea which were relied on by Mr. Vallee today as an imprimatur on these continued discharges were not made “off the cuff” somewhere.

To the contrary, they were made recently at a public meeting in Poestenkill Town Hall where many other concerned residents of the town were present to protest this and other problems associated with this operation, and they were made in the context of an excuse for continued inaction on halting this practice by either the DEC, the Town of Poestenkill, or USA Waste which took over United Waste and now operates the transfer station.

* * * * *

During the original Article 78, I defended a challenge of my standing to bring on the Article 78 by pointing to records in the DEC’s own files pertaining to an oil spill just to the west of the transfer station (about 300 feet) which contaminated my well and several other wells to the west of the transfer station.

The point that I made with respect to possible groundwater contamination as a result of the transfer station operations in that original Article 78 was that it is a matter of record the subsurface strata in this entire area is fractured shale which readily allows the entry and transport of contaminants, as was proved by the oil spill, and that a large transfer station without leachate collection in place would almost certainly serve to impact the groundwater in this area, which I am dependent on for my drinking water and other household usages.

The DEC, by and through the Attorney General’s Office, never challenged that factual data about the oil spill and its documented adverse impact on my well, nor did it deny that the transfer station would pose a serious environmental concern with respect to groundwater contamination if it were to be operated as proposed without any form of leachate collection in place.

* * * * *

Undeterred by the law, however, the Region IV Office locked me out of the process by threats and simply handed out another permit to Benson Brothers/United Waste and now there is a virtual nightmare operating under DEC permit at the corner of Rtes. 66 and 351, and your Mr. Forgea is blessing this situation with contaminated pus spread over several acres of unprotected ground with the excuse in a public meeting in the Town of Poestenkill that he sees no problems with it.

* * * * *

It was apparent to me from my conversation with Mr. Vallee today that as long as Mr. Forgea continues to put his blessing on this situation, no action will be taken by USA Waste to correct the problem, and hence this letter to your Office, to protest this on-going practice in the strongest possible terms.

State of New York
Department of Environmental Conservation
Albany, New York 12233-1010

Feb. 6, 1998

Dear Mr. Plante:

Thank you for your letter of January 7, 1998 concerning the solid waste facility near your home at the intersection of Routes 66 and 351 in the Town of Poestenkill.

The environment, public safety, natural resources and the economy of New York State are matters of concern for all of us.

Handling situations such as the permitting of solid waste facilities involve a balancing process for government agencies mandated with insuring the wise use of our natural resources and the protection of the environment.

In your letter, you indicate the Benson Brothers facility exceeds the 100 cubic yards of municipal solid wastes allowed by the original permit issued.

You also mention that trash is dumped onto the ground.

I will respond to each of these issues in turn.

The original permit issued to Benson Brother's Disposal, Inc., allowed the waste hauler to operate a solid waste transfer facility and to handle up to 100 cubic yards of soloid waste per day.

In August of 1995, Benson Brothers Disposal, Inc. submitted an application for a modification of the solid waste permit.

The environmental impacts, such as traffic, resulting from the proposed permit modification are considered local in nature by this Department.

Therefore, the Department agreed with the Town of Poestenkill that the municipality would assume the lead agency role for the necessary SEQR review of the proposed modification.

The town planning board reviewed the action and issued a negative declaration on July 28, 1995.

In late September 1995, the Region issued a permit modification to Benson Brothers increasing the allowable maximum daily throughput to 200 tons of solid waste per day, authorizing up to four community recycling days and permitting the operation of a drop-off site for town residents on Saturdays from 8:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.

Subsequent to the permit modification, Benson Brother's Disposal, Inc. transferred ownership and operation of the facility to United Waste, Inc.

This company remains compelled to adhere to the terms of the permit as modified.

The permit requires that all waste transferred at the station be handled inside the facility.

The permit does not allow the facility operator to dump solid wastes on the ground.

A leachate collection system is in place and operating at the facility.

Mr. Forgea, A Department Region 4 solid waste engineer, attended a December 28, 1998 Town of Poestenkill committee meeting.

He expressed his opinion that, based on the design of the facility which includes leachate collection, the possibility of contamination of residential wells by leachate coming from the incoming waste stream is remote.

The Department has conducted an investigation of the activities at this property and the property owner has fully cooperated with the investigation.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is fully aware of the importance and environmental significance of the proper maintenance of solid waste facilities such as the one in Poestenkill.

The Department will do its best to protect Poestenkill and other communities in accordance with the environmental laws of the state.

Thank you for your interest in this subject.

Sincerely,

John P. Cahill
Commissioner
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Re: THE PAUL PLANTE STORY

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February 18, 1998

Mr. John Cahill
Commissioner
New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation
50 Wolf Road
Albany, New York 12233

RE: USA Waste/United Waste Facility at intersection of Rtes. 66 and 351, Town of Poestenkill, Rensselaer County

Dear Commissioner Cahill:

At about 11:15 A.M. on Wednesday, February 18, 1998, I arrived at the United Waste/USA Waste facility at the intersection of NYS Routes 66 and 351 in the Town of Poestenkill, Rensselaer County.

Once there, I requested an opportunity to speak with Mr. Steve Vallee, the facility manager.

On being advised that Mr. Vallee was not at the facility, I went to see Mr. Tom Nero, Mr. Vallee's deputy at the Poestenkill facility.

I informed Mr. Nero that I wished an opportunity to view what was being called "an in-place leachate collection system" by the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

With that said, Mr. Nero and myself walked in a northerly direction from his office to the upper level of the transfer station.

As we were walking to the transfer station, we were literally walking through a grey viscous pus that covered the ground.

Once at the transfer station, I was allowed an opportunity to walk inside the facility and inspect the working floor.

There are two bays in the upper level at the transfer station - a north bay and a south bay - with entry doors located in the westerly end of the building.

In what would be the south-west corner of the transfer station, I noticed that the floor of the facility was depressed or subsided so that there was a large pool of viscous, grey liquid collected there.

This pool of liquid was approximately four (4') feet in diameter and several inches in depth.

Each time that the large Mitsubishi loader employed by United Waste to move trash forward on the tipping floor would enter or exit the building in the south bay, which it did several times while I was there, its tires would displace this grey, viscous liquid and it would then flow out of the south bay door in the westerly end of the building, out onto the unpaved, untreated ground and into the environment.

Similarly, whenever trucks would enter the facility, they too would displace the liquid and it would flow out the westerly end of the building onto the unpaved, untreated ground and into the environment.

In the south bay, easterly of this depressed or subsided area, the floor of the facility was coated with a thick grey, viscous layer and on top of that was what appeared to be a layer of hydraulic fluid.

Each time that the large Mitsubishi loader would pass through the south bay, it would further emulsify this mixture, which was flowing westerly into the depressed or subsided area, and thence out the south bay door in the westerly end of the building and into the environment.

The floor in the north bay as similarly coated, and that floor was noted to tip from east to west so that there was an observable flow of liquid in a westerly direction, out of the north bay door, onto the unpaved, untreated ground and into the environment.

When I asked Mr. Nero about the functioning of the center drain which I had observed back in 1993 or 1994 when the facility was being constructed, Mr. Nero informed that the center drain was not working.

In fact, according to Mr. Nero, on Friday, February 13, 1998, and Saturday, February 14, 1998, United Waste had "dug up" the center portion to the floor where the floor drain was located in order to pour new concrete because the heavy equipment now employed by United Waste to ram 200 tons per day through this 30 ton per day facility had destroyed the floor in that area as well as the floor drain.

While I watched, Mr. Nero had the equipment operator in the facility move the pile of garbage covering over the area of the center floor drain so I could inspect it.

What I observed was an approximate four (4") inch diameter hole in the concrete floor of the facility that was plugged by debris and a "blue rag."

None of the considerable volume of grey, viscous liquid on the floor of the facility was making its way towards this four inch hole for several reasons, to wit:

a) with the subsidence of the floors in the north and south bays, and with the pouring of new concrete in the center of the facility, the floor in the center of the facility now appears to be higher than the floors around it, so that liquid flows away from the floor drain; and

b) the garbage mounded up in the center of the floor precludes the flow of liquid towards its center; rather, the liquid flows from the mounded-up garbage along the path of least resistance, which is out of the north and south bay doors and into the environment.

After discerning and confirming that there was no leachate collection system in place or working on the tipping floor at about 11:30 A.M. on Wednesday, February 18, 1998, Mr. Nero and myself than made our way down to the lower level where the transfer trailers are parked while being loaded from the tipping floor.

The lower level runs from south to north on the easterly end of the transfer station, and Mr. Nero and myself stood outside the south door, looking north, while a transfer trailer was filled from above.

The floor where the transfer trailer was parked was covered with standing water to a depth of several inches.

This large pool of water extended well out of the building on the south side where Mr. Nero and I were standing on unpaved, untreated ground, and the pool of water in the building was filled with garbage which was continually falling from above while the transfer trailer was being loaded.

When I asked Mr. Nero about any leachate collection system to handle this water, his reply was that there is none, which confirmed my recollections of the inspections I had done as a New York State licensed professional engineer when this facility was being constructed circa 1993-1994.

To be complete about my investigation, I asked Mr. Nero about any leachate collection system in place to handle the grey, viscous pus which covered the unpaved, untreated ground outside the transfer station and his answer was that there is no such system, despite assertions of the New York State Environmental Conservation Commissioner and his engineer Forgea to the contrary.

So, Mr. Commissioner, based on my inspection earlier today, it would seem that in the fourth paragraph on page one of your letter to me of February 6, 1998, you are willfully making false statements and misrepresenting facts when you tell me, a New York State licensed professional engineer who is quite knowledgeable of leachate collection systems and the Part 360 regulations, that there is a leachate collection system in place and operating at the facility, and it would further seem that your engineer Forgea is openly and willfully lying to the residents of the Town of Poestenkill when he tells them and me that "based on the design of the facility which includes leachate collection," the possibility of contamination of residential wells is "very remote."

Based upon the manner in which this transfer station is now being operated by United Waste/USA Waste under permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the possibility of contamination of residential wells, most probably mine, is almost a guaranteed certainty, and I do not appreciate being lied to about this matter by your office as though I were some kind of simpleton.

Never have I seen such gross dereliction of duty and willful negligence on the part of New York State officials as I have seen in this case from yourself and your engineer Forgea, and I do not intend to stand for it.

With respect to this alleged "investigation" that the Department allegedly conducted with full cooperation of the property owner, I am herewith demanding immediate access to all documents, reports, lab tests, etc. pertaining to that alleged "investigation" including any and all tests of the grey viscous pus which covers the unpaved and untreated ground at this site.

DATE: 24 November 2021

TO: Susan Edwards, NYSDEC

RE: COMMUNITY UPDATE, NOVEMBER 2021, PROTECTING POESTENKILL’S DRINKING WATER AND INVESTIGATING PFAS CONTAMINATION, Two Public Availability Sessions Scheduled for Dec. 8, 2021

Dear Ms. Edwards:

As this duplicitous conduct by DEC has gone on up to the present time, at no time did the DEC make any attempt to fulfill the alleged Mission Statement of the NYSDEC, that being "to conserve, improve and protect New York's natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being," or DEC's purported goal of achieving this mission through the simultaneous pursuit of environmental quality, public health, economic prosperity and social well-being, including environmental justice and the empowerment of individuals to participate in environmental decisions that affect their lives.

To the contrary, in early 1998, because I had chosen to stand up to DEC lawlessness, I found myself confronted in my driveway by Lt. Paul Bernstein and ECO Karen Staniewski of the DEC police force.

I distinctly remember to this day ECO Karen Staniewski, a large, burly, muscular woman, getting out of the DEC police car in my driveway and dropping into what is known as a "shooter's stance" as she faced me, with her hand near her pistol, all the time glowering and scowling at me as if I were some kind of piece of crap or scum she would like to pump a couple of rounds into to see what kind of stopping power that pistol really did have, while the grey-haired Lt. Paul Bernstein gave me a fatherly talking-to about all the trouble I was getting myself into by challenging the DEC and thereby stepping on the toes of important and powerful people in the Town of Poestenkill, the County of Rensselaer, and the State of New York.

Thus, the long record of DEC duplicity and regulatory insufficiency in issuing permits and enforcing the Environmental Conservation Law in the County of Rensselaer is firmly established.

State of New York
Department of Environmental Conservation
Albany, New York 12233-1010

March 19, 1998

Dear Mr. Plante:

I am writing you in response to your letter of February 18, 1998 concerning the USA/United Waste facility.

* * * * *

With regard to your substantive complaints about the operation of the facility, our Region 4 solid waste staff have periodically inspected the facility and have found neither violations of the Solid Waste Regulations nor of the facility's permit.

Furthermore, the Department recently conducted an investigation of the facility in response to these complaints.

On February 16, 1998, two Department of Environmental Conservation Officers inspected the facility, conducted interviews with you and a facility representative and were also unable to identify any violations.


Again, we would welcome and will look into any additional information you may have supporting your allegations that the facility is being operated in an unlawful manner.

It is my further understanding that the Town is initiating a dialogue between the new owners of the transfer station, USA/United Waste, and local residents in an attempt to resolve the various issues discussed in your letter.

The Department has also agreed to participate in this process.

Specifically, facility representatives have agreed, among other things, to guard against litter deposited on adjacent roadways, as well as pave portions of the transfer station roads.

This paving should address the concerns you have raised about mud tracking and dust conditions in and around the facility.

In addition, the company has agreed to install a gate at the entrance to the facility to prevent any after hours use of the transfer station.

Please be assured that Department staff will continue to inspect the facility's operation and will take appropriate action should conditions warrant.

In this regard, our solid waste staff are planning to conduct an inspection during the next rainy period to investigate your claims that the facility's run-off collection system is operating improperly.

We will advise you of the outcome of that investigation.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to call Richard Forgea (357-2045), the Region 4 engineer responsible for the facility.

Sincerely,

John P. Cahill
Commissioner
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