The City of Newburgh sustained additional contamination in its water supply from Stewart Air National Guard Base on Saturday. The water was contaminated by a C6 foam that was released into a retention pond and overflowed into Silver Stream, a tributary to Washington Lake.
The C6 foam is a replacement for the previous firefighting foams that caused the Washington Lake contamination in 2016. The city issued a press release on Sunday informing residents of the contamination.
According to the DEC the contamination was released from a hangar owned by Atlantic Aviation after an equipment malfunction. The contamination affects Washington Lake, but it does not affect the city’s source of drinking water. City Manager, Joe Donat reminds residents the city is not on Washington Lake, Newburgh is currently supplied by Brown’s Pond which is not linked to the contamination.
“It is beyond comprehension how responsible parties continue to disregard the safety and health of over 30,000 people,” wrote Councilwoman Karen Mejia in a Facebook post on Sunday. “We demand full transparency over the composition and amount of toxic pollutants that have been released into our watershed. Responsible parties must be held accountable.”
Wendy Rosdenbach, Representative for the DEC says the investigation into the incident is ongoing and the DEC will remain on the scene to oversee the cleanup.
“DEC is requiring all available resources to assist with the cleanup and to ensure public health and the environment are protected,” said Rosenbach.
Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson is hoping to get answers from the Department of Defense regarding the contamination, to see if the foam is a hazardous chemical, and where the discharge is flowing.
“My position is the same as when I was on the Newburgh City Council,” said Jacobson. “Newburgh should stay hooked up to the Catskill Aqueduct with an option to hook up to the Delaware Aqueduct if necessary. It is the only way to guarantee safe drinking water in the future.”
There are many questions left unanswered for residents and elected officials on the contamination. The Department of Defense will participate in a meeting at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center, Thursday, April 18, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the contamination. For more information you can visit the Facebook page, Dept of Defense Public Meeting.