Read the full article by Sarah Trafton (Columbia-Greene Media)
“CATSKILL — Greene County lawmakers Wednesday night approved a retainer agreement with a Long Island-based law firm in a lawsuit against the manufacturers of chemicals used at the county’s firefighting training center in Cairo, which are present in the municipal drinking water.
A lawsuit filed by the state Attorney General’s Office in November identified Cairo as one of several locations affected by PFAS. PFAS form a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX and many others. PFAS, or per- and polyfluroalkyl substances are contaminants that resist degradation and accumulate in the human body.
They have been linked to serious illnesses such as kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, liver damage, preeclampsia and other conditions, according to ag.ny.gov.
PFAS were commonly used in firefighting foam. The county’s training center is located on Mountain Avenue. Cairo’s public drinking water is supplied by a well at Angelo Canna Town Park, which is fed by groundwater, according to the town’s annual water report.
The law firm enlisted by the county, Napoli Shkolnik, also presented to the Cairo Town Board in March.
‘We decided to speak to another firm in Ulster County and then COVID hit,’ Town Supervisor John Coyne said. ‘It’s back on our radar.’
The firm will be presenting at the town board’s meeting on Aug. 3. Coyne did not immediately recall the name of the firm.
Legislator Michael Bulich, R-Catskill, asked at the Government Operations Committee meeting Monday how much the county would be paying the firm.
Greene County Attorney Edward Kaplan said the agreement was on a contingency basis and the firm will be entitled to 25% of any awards to the counties involved in the suit.
‘Greene County wishes to protect itself and the taxpayers of potential contamination by these chemicals on its property(ies) and remediation of any contamination should not be borne by the taxpayers but by those that are responsible for manufacturing and distributing such chemicals,’ according to the resolution…”