Read the full article by Rivard (Albany Times Union)
“SARANAC LAKE — The state last week labeled the Adirondack Regional Airport, a town-owned airfield near Saranac Lake, a hazardous waste site.
Like hundreds of other airports across the country, Adirondack Regional over the years sprayed firefighting foam that contains chemicals now known to cause cancer and other health problems. These persistent ‘forever chemicals,’ known as PFAS, linger in the soil and water.
Tests also found the chemicals in a nearby mobile home park, the Adirondack Airport Community.
The state added the airport to its Superfund hazard list last week. The state Department of Environmental Conservation will now do more to investigate the ‘nature and extent of contamination’ at the site and figure out options to clean up the damage, but officials have known about problems there for several years. Last year, state Attorney General Letitia James cited problems at the airport in a federal lawsuit against the makers of PFAS and firefighting foam.
Day-to-day operations remain unaffected, Airport Manager Corey Hurwitch said. The Town of Harrietstown owns and operates the airport.
The state has done a series of tests at the airport in the past several years. The most dramatic result came from a test well drilled at the end of a row of hangars. There, samples of groundwater showed 28,181 parts PFAS per trillion parts water. Anything above 500 would have been eye-catching in such a sample.
Other tests showed PFAS in existing drinking water supplies. That already has prompted some action and warnings to protect public health.
When the airport learned that water from a bathroom in a hangar had elevated levels of PFAS, warning signs went up and people stopped drinking the hangar’s water, Hurwitch said.
Lower but still elevated levels of the chemical were also found at the Adirondack Airport Community, which is not affiliated with the airport. The community, just down a road from the airport entrance, has about 30 mobile homes…”