Read the full article by Rick Karlin (Times Union)
“COHOES – Word that up to a dozen tanker trucks carrying 58,000 gallons of firefighting foam containing toxic PFAS chemicals might be coming to the Norlite aggregate plant sparked a firestorm of worry and criticism on Monday against the federal Department of Defense, which has a contract to dispose of the substance there.
The rapid pushback may have prompted the federal government to back off on the plans, at least for now.
At issue is aqueous film-forming foam or AFFF which contains toxic PFAS chemicals. Norlite has a five-year contract with DOD to incinerate the foam and the firm had been doing so in 2018 and 2019.
But amid worries about the health and environmental effects of the incineration, the city of Cohoes earlier this spring enacted a one-year moratorium on such burning. Around the same time, the state Department of Environmental Conservation also said Norlite should halt the burning until more is known about its impacts. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has also called for more study.
Norlite hadn’t objected to the moratorium.
So it was a surprise when word emerged Monday morning about the potential shipments, based on recent emails between Norlite and the DOD obtained by the Times Union.
‘They cannot incinerate it here,’ said Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler. ‘The Department of Defense has to get that message. I do not think Norlite would break the law.’
Additionally, the state DEC said that ‘we made it clear that incineration of these compounds will not occur at this facility without further scientific review and that position is not changing.’
Later in the day, Knight Prince, Norlite’s environmental and regulatory compliance director said that, given DEC’s request, ‘We have asked DLA (DOD’s logistics arm) to also pause sending this material. There is nothing currently scheduled into Norlite.’
Cohoes Assemblyman John McDonald added that Sergio Nusimovich, the president of Norlite’s parent company, Tradebe Environmental Services, agreed that Norlite wasn’t planning to pick up any AFFF.
A Department of Defense spokesman said the agency couldn’t comment on the matter since it is in litigation over its contracts to have the foam incinerated…”