Averill Park CSD Families,

On January 29, 2021, we notified our school community of elevated PFOA levels at Algonquin Middle School. As a result, the District immediately shut down drinking fountains, stopped using water for food preparation, provided bottled water to students and staff, and scheduled a water supply resampling, as required.

The District has been notified by the Rensselaer County Department of Health that the laboratory results of the second sampling indicated a PFOA level of 12 parts per trillion (ppt), exceeding the allowable New York State maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 10 ppt. Both the original test and the repeat test had detections of PFOS, but they were below the MCL.

We are collaborating with our professional engineers, the County and the Town of Poestenkill to determine the best approach for remedying this situation. In the meantime, water fountains will continue to be shut down and bottled water will be provided for students and staff, as well as for cafeteria meal preparation. Water being used for handwashing and toilet flushing will continue as normal per the County’s guidance.

There were no other reportable conditions of PFOA, PFOS or 1,4-Dioxane identified through testing that exceeded the MCL at the Averill Park High School, Miller Hill-Sand Lake Elementary School or the West Sand Lake Elementary School. We will continue to test these locations periodically for the remainder of this year to ensure we are in compliance with all local, state, and federal requirements. Please also note that the District is not required to test the George Washington School or Poestenkill Elementary School, as those buildings are supplied with municipal water which is tested by the municipal water provider.

According to the Department of Health, “The United States Environmental Protection Agency considers PFOA as having suggestive evidence for causing cancer based on studies of animals exposed to high levels of this chemical over their entire lifetimes. At the level of PFOA detected in the water, exposure from drinking water and food preparation is well below PFOA exposures associated with health effects.

The DOH also states that “the MCL is set well below levels known or estimated to cause health effects. Consuming drinking water with PFOA at or somewhat above the MCL does not pose a significant health risk.”

If you have additional questions about these contaminants and your health, talk to your health care provider who is familiar with your health history and can provide assistance on understanding how drinking water may affect your personal health.