David Bond

Exposing Soil Contamination

After testing soil and water around a Norlite incinerator in Cohoes, NY—Associate Director of Bennington’s Elizabeth Coleman Center for Advancement of Public Action (CAPA) David Bond and Beyond Plastics founder and visiting CAPA faculty member Judith Enck discovered PFAS in soil and water surrounding the incinerator. Their findings are now at the center of several investigative reports including coverage from The Intercept, Politico, The Hill, Wall Street Journal among others. Norlite is contracted by the Department of Defense to burn firefighting foam, a known carcinogen. The pattern that the Bennington team found in suggests the contaminates are airborne. Speaking to the implications, Bond explained to The Intercept that “All of this provides a strong indication of airborne deposition of PFAS from ineffective incineration of AFFF at the Norlite facility. Far from destroying PFAS, the Norlite plant appears to be raining down a witches’ brew of PFAS compounds on the poor and working class neighborhoods of Cohoes.” Enck, a former EPA administrator added that the contamination is alarming. She explained that it not only indicates a failure of oversight by the company, “but by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation as well. There was essentially no environmental review and no test burning done in advance.” Bond and Enck were aided by their students and have been widely tapped in an unfolding investigation into Norlite’s burn practices.