Jenkinsville gets DEC update as residents hit 6 months of bottled water and well testing

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Jenkinsville Road in Queensbury, N.Y.

QUEENSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – For nearly six months, residents of the Jenkinsville neighborhood in Queensbury have been given bottled water as the New York DEC tests wells and landfills surrounding the area for contaminants.

On Thursday, the DEC released an update on how that testing is going. The long and short of it: More testing done, and a few more residents not drinking the water.

In Thursday’s update, the DEC reported that staff have now tested 122 private wells in the area, 101 of which have been completed. Three more wells were sampled at Ridge/Jenkinsville Park, which sits in the middle of the neighborhood, across Jenkinsville Road from a large portion of the neighborhood.

Of those homes, a second round of sampling has been recommended for nine, and bottled water is now being given to a total of 19.

That’s three more wells than in April, when the DEC and the town of Queensbury held a Q&A conference to disclose the latest information.

The problem first discovered last summer, as part of a statewide effort to take a closer look at potentially hazardous groundwater sites. PFOAs and 1,4-dioxane contaminants were found in the water of several private wells near one of four landfills that neighbor residents.

Those residents in Jenkinsville didn’t find out about it until earlier this year, and began receiving bottled water from the DEC in March. The DEC has maintained that the level of 1,4-dioxane in those wells is not high enough to cause immediate harm, but that the bottled alternative is being provided out of an abundance of caution.

1,4-dioxane has been found to cause cancers in animals and is classified by the EPA as a likely carcinogen for humans.

Landfill results

The contaminants were first discovered after testing at the Queensbury town landfill, but its immediate neighbors were also scrutinized in order to better gauge the scope of the problem.

Data has now been collected from all three of those other landfills: Finch Paper, Ciba-Geigy and McLaughlin.

jenkinsville map current
The New York DEC’s map of the landfills bordering the Jenkinsville neighborhood in Queensbury, N.Y. (Photo: New York Department of Environmental Conservation)

Two of them came up dry. Monitoring wells at the Finch Paper and Ciba-Geigy landfills were both sampled in April, and the data showed no obvious source of either 1,4-dioxane or PFOAs.

At McLaughlin, things took a bit longer. Samples were taken there in April, just like at the other two, but the DEC rejected them due to an issue with their temperature.

A second round of samples was taken in June, and the data from that batch gave some results: Namely, PFOA concentrations of 5 and 28 parts per trillion, taken from two different sampling wells at the landfill. 1,4-dioxane was found as well, ranging from 0.37 to 1.2 parts per trillion.

The DEC said those numbers weren’t high enough for the landfill to be considered a significant contributor to the water problem.

The DEC’s next steps are to evaluate whether and where further sampling is needed, and begin work with the owners of the landfills found to be part of the problem.

The DEC didn’t indicate in Thursday’s update whether the McLaughlin landfill would be part of that conversation if levels there were not deemed a problem, but did state that the Queensbury landfill remains their primary focus.

Jenkinsville area homes all get their water by well, with the Queensbury town water line ending three miles south.

Queensbury Town Supervisor John Strough commented on the ongoing work via email:

“The Town of Queensbury’s paramount interest is safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our residents and protecting the environment, and we appreciate the continued support of the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health.”

Any area residents who have not had their wells tested and would like to do so can contact DEC representative Anthony Bollasina at (518) 402-2754; or Kevin Wood at (518) 623-1233, or DOH representative Wendy Kuehner at (518) 402-7882.

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