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EPA to cover Halfmoon's extra costs

It finally happened, the moment Town of Halfmoon Supervisor Mindy Wormuth has been waiting for for nearly a year. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to pay for what it costs to the town to hook up to Troy's water source until at least the end of the 2012 dredging season.

Our decision to cover the extra cost of drawing water from Troy on a full time basis will eliminate any cause for concern about drinking water in these towns, said Judith Enck, EPA Regional Administrator on Monday, April 26.

This decision didn't come simply, though. Since dredging of the Hudson started back in May 2009, Wormuth has been appealing to the EPA or GE to pay for the extra costs incurred by the town's hook up to the Troy line. After the last PCB spike in March, Halfmoon went off its own water source and hooked back up to Troy's, prompting Wormuth to beef up her campaign by writing letters and eventually scoring a meeting with someone at the EPA.

"This is a direct response to hearing our concerns," said Wormuth. "I'm very pleased that they [EPA] have finally been convinced to support our position that this is the right thing to do we've worked for a very long time trying to convince them that this was truly the only way to protect the community from exposures to PCBs and from having to absorb the financial burden of using Troy water."

If the EPA hadn't agreed to pay for the additional costs, Wormuth said the town would have had to look at possibly raising water rates.

The Agency is currently conducting a clean-up effort and looking more closely at the results gathered near the Thompson Island monitoring station in March, which showed PCB levels alarmingly high and unsafe, according to information from the EPA. The samples taken were covered with mud and vegetation, said the EPA, which could have compromised the results and made them inaccurate.

Before the end of the 2012 dredging season, the EPA said it will make a decision about whether to continue to pay for water full-time or on a limited basis during the remaining off-seasons.

For the foreseeable future, Halfmoon will rely on Troy's water source for clean drinking water.

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