The City of Newburgh is finally starting to see some federal investment on its contaminated water supply. Representative Sean Patrick Maloney announced on April 3 that the United States Army Corps of Engineers will fund the installation of a filtration system to prevent further contamination from Recreation Pond. They will invest $2.4 million into the project to clean up the PFAS contamination created by Aqueous Fire Fighting Foam at Stewart Air National Guard Base.
The contamination dates back to May of 2016, when the City of Newburgh’s drinking water reservoir, Washington Lake was discovered to be contaminated with PFAS. The contamination was discovered at Recreation Pond next to the base, which then moved through Silver Stream, into Washington Lake.
“This is a huge victory for the City of Newburgh, there’s much more work to do, but this is a critical first step in getting the city’s original water supply permanently cleaned up,” said Maloney. “We have to stop any further contamination of Washington Lake and then get rid of the stuff that’s already there until the water is once again safe to drink.”
The filtration system will be placed at Recreation Pond, the site of contamination to end the flow of contaminated water from Recreation Pond.
The system is expected to be up and running by the end of the summer. It will use granulated activated carbon and resin technology to filter water coming out of Recreation Pond.
Maloney is also looking to pass a law to get answers on the long-term health effects of PFOS and PFOA contamination. The legislation announced in November 2017 it would require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct a study into the long term health effects of PFOS and PFOA exposure.
“We know folks in Newburgh have a high PFOS level in their blood than the national average, we just don’t know what that means in terms of long term health effects,” said Maloney. “My bill will get the CDC in the game to drill down the science of this and figure out what to do next to help the people of Newburgh.”
The City of Newburgh is currently on Brown’s Pond as the main water supply for the time being. The city will go back to the Catskill aqueduct if water levels decrease at Brown’s Pond.
The current litigation against the Department of Defense and New York State is still ongoing.