On Tuesday Assemblymember Jonathan G. Jacobson (D-104) and Senator James Skoufis announced recent legislation restricting the use of PFOA and PFOS. They were joined by Maureen Cunningham from Environmental Advocates of New York and representatives from other local and statewide environmental groups to urge the New York State Department of Health to immediately adopt stricter standards on PFOA, PFOS, and 1,4 dioxane levels in drinking water.
“Too many communities in New York State, including the City of Newburgh, are dealing with drinking water contaminated by PFOS and other chemicals,” Jacobson said. “Newburgh’s water supply has been contaminated from the fire-fighting foam used at Stewart Air Force base. This year, we passed significant legislation combatting PFOS, including the ban of using PFOS in fire-fighting foam. While these bills are important in protecting New Yorkers, the State needs to adopt new water standards. Since the new standards were recommended by the New York State Drinking Water Council last December, I have repeatedly urged the Department of Health to implement them and help stem this crisis.”
The group met in front of the City of Newburgh Water Filtration Plant which houses a Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) system recently built in response to the discovery of PFOA and PFOS contamination in Washington Lake. The plant currently draws water from the Catskill Aqueduct as the water from Washington Lake would contaminate the entire system.
Jacobson, Skoufis, and Cunningham were joined by Ophra Wolf from the Newburgh Clean Water Project, John Gebhards from the Quassaick Creek Watershed Alliance, Manna Jo Greene from Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Kirenan Conroy from Protect Orange County, Andrew Pezzullo from Food and Water Watch, and Liz Moran from NYPIRG.
Bill A445/S439, banning the use of PFOS chemicals in firefighting foam, passed the Senate in May and the Assembly in June and awaits the Governor’s signature to be signed into law.
City of Newburgh Mayor Torrance Havey said, “I want to congratulate Assemblymember Jacobson and Senator Skoufis for their tireless advocacy for safe drinking water for Newburgh. I am proud to stand here with them and Environmental Advocates to continue to shine a light on this pressing situation.”
In February, Jacobson wrote to Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to urge him to adopt the stricter water standards recommended by the New York State Drinking Water Quality Council last December.