HOOSICK FALLS, NY>> With the municipal water supply deemed safe to drink, two local lenders say they have resumed issuing new mortgages on village homes.
But the Bank of Bennington, Trustco Bank and other financial institutions will still require homes with private wells be tested for the potentially harmful chemical PFOA if contamination is found nearby.
"We're back in business as far as lending goes for any property on the village water system," Trustco Bank Treasurer Kevin Timmons said.
Timmons said for homes with private wells, a system that's been deemed adequate at removing PFOA, such as a point of entry treatment systems (POET), would be needed.
One condition lenders require before issuing a mortage on a property is that a home meet some standards of livability, such as a drinkable water source. Federal agencies that back home loans also have those requirements.
"Normally, the water test on a home is a basic, routine test for contaminants," Timmons said. "But in this case do to the known contaminant in the area, we have to test for that specific chemical."
Bank of Bennington President Jim Brown said his financial institution has also resumed issuing new mortgages on homes in the village, given that they have a clean water source.
Bank of Bennington and Trustco were two financial institutions that stopped giving mortgages to home buyers in the village, where the EPA told residents not to drink or cook with the water.
Officials warned the water supply contained elevated levels of PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, which was formerly used to make Teflon and has been linked to cancers.
But on March 29, nearly four months after the EPA issued a no-drink order, health officials announced the village's municipal water was safe for all uses after a filtration system was installed and found to be effective.
The Saint-Gobain Corporation payed for the granulated activated carbon filtration (GAC) system's installation at the village water treatment plant.
PFOA has also been found in private wells in the town of Hoosick and Petersburgh, N.Y., and in private wells around North Bennington.
Testing on water samples from the Bennington and North Bennington municipal systems did not detect any PFOA.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979