New Windsor shuts down well after contamination

By Wayne A. Hall
Posted 5/8/19

New Windsor Supervisor George Green acting with the rest of the town board has shut down the new, state of the art million-dollar Butter Hill Wells Treatment water plant after the discovery of …

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New Windsor shuts down well after contamination

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New Windsor Supervisor George Green acting with the rest of the town board has shut down the new, state of the art million-dollar Butter Hill Wells Treatment water plant after the discovery of pollutants there - PFOs and PFA’s used in many industrial applications for decades.

These same chemicals also have polluted Washington Lake.

“Now we have become the latest victim of the contamination of water supply,” Green told a room full of engineers and town officials yesterday at New Windsor town hall “of the contamination of our public water supply caused by the use of firefighting foam at Stewart International Airport.”

Green said, “Unfortunately more recent testing by the state Department of Health has revealed low levels of PFOAs and PFOS in our water.”

Both chemicals are linked to a variety of human illnesses.

Green explained “our wells are well below both the EPA’s lifetime health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion and the New York state Drinking Water and the New York state Drinking Water Quality Council’s recently recommended 10 parts per trillion maximum contaminate level for PFOAs and PFOS.”

Confirmation of the new test results, Green said, was “received by the town in writing April 14.”

New Windsor will temporarily shut down its state of the art new Riley Road water treatment plant.

So for now the town will turn to the New York City Aqueduct for water.

New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection gave New Windsor $12 million towards construction of the new water treatment plant on Riley Road.

That state of the art plant opened with salutes to Green and other town officials for finding this source of water.

“When we discovered this water supply, it was tested and found to be safe, with “with no detectable levels of PFOA or PFOS,” Green said. 

“Additional testing was done during development and construction phases,” said Green. “Which led everyone to believe that this water, our water, was safe and immune from problems plaguing our friends in the City of Newburgh.”

“Unfortunately, more recent testing done by the state Department of Health,” Green said, “has revealed low levels of PFOAs and PFOs.”

Even though these levels are below the EPA’s lifetime health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion and the New York state Drinking Water Quality Council’s recommended 10 parts per trillion maximum contaminant level and is acceptable for drinking, according to federal guidelines, New Windsor is being super cautious, said Green.

“Despite these state safety claims,” Green added, “the town board and I have determined to shut down the wells.”

Green added, “We have instructed the operator and engineer to restart the Riley Road water treatment plant.”

Flanked by cameras and town officials and workers, Green said, “The town of New Windsor has always put the interests, the safety and well-being of its residents first.”

He added, “We have already contacted the New York state Department of Environmental Protection to work with us to provide the town with a treatment system to deal with this issue.”

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