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“COHOES, N.Y. — New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced new actions to further restrict the incineration of firefighting foam that contains PFAS compounds at the Norlite facility in Cohoes.
In a letter to Norlite, LLC, and its affiliate Tradebe Treatment and Recycling, LLC., DEC informed Norlite that it intends to consider the company’s forthcoming permit renewals as new permits requiring expanded review and that the company will be required to conduct expanded environmental justice outreach to provide the community with the opportunity to comment on the overall facility operations and potential environmental impacts.
DEC has also confirmed that Defense Logistics Agency’s Disposition Services has terminated the aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) incineration contract with Tradebe.
‘New York State is unwavering in our commitment to protect communities like the city of Cohoes from potential exposure to emerging contaminants and the actions announced today will ensure this community has the information and the tools necessary to assist DEC’s efforts to ensure Norlite is a good neighbor,’ Seggos said.
‘While DEC and local leaders have stopped the incineration of PFAS materials at Norlite, and even with the recent termination of the federal contract, DEC is not letting up and is partnering with this community to refocus our attention on overall operations at this facility. By regarding Norlite’s permit renewals as new applications, and requiring this facility to expand and improve community engagement, DEC is ensuring a transparent process that prioritizes community participation to protect area residents and the environment,’ Seggos added.
In a statement, Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler applauded DEC’s actions to further restrict Norlite incineration of AFFF.
‘Clearly contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense and others to incinerate AFFF firefighting foam containing PFAS chemicals at Norlite got out ahead of the science determining whether it was safe for our residents and the environment,’ Keeler stated.
‘Since first learning in February about the incineration of AFFF at Norlite, we have been asking for help to determine whether burning these PFAS so-called ‘forever chemicals’ for two years in an urban area may have affected people’s health and the environment. Today’s announcement by the DEC gets us closer to finding those answers. We appreciate the DEC’s ongoing conversations with us, and their commitment to the scientific testing and stronger regulatory oversight announced [Thursday],’ Keeler continued.
‘We also have made clear that Norlite must not be allowed to incinerate AFFF firefighting foam containing PFAS chemicals unless and until the science says it is safe. For that reason, we continue to urge Governor [Andrew] Cuomo to sign the [Neil] Breslin/[John] McDonald bill,’ Keeler added.
McDonald also commented on the actions taken by DEC.
‘I am glad to see that the Department of Environmental Conservation has issued new guidance to further restrict the Norlite Facility in Cohoes from burning firefighting foam that contains PFAS. Additionally, it is comforting to know that the multiyear contract with the Department of Defense has been canceled,’ McDonald stated.
‘Norlite will now have to suspend all processing of AFFF materials until additional testing is conducted. Until a safe and effective method of AFFF disposal is found, we cannot continue this practice in our communities. It is critical that we have answers before activity is permitted. I will continue to fight for the constituents I represent to ensure their health and safety are protected,’ McDonald continued…”