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Riverkeeper calls on Port Authority and Stewart ANG Base to stop PFOS discharges


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For Immediate Release: May 13, 2016
Contact: Cliff Weathers, Director of Communications
(914) 478-4501 ext. 239; [email protected]

City of Newburgh’s drinking water is put at risk by ‘emerging contaminant.’

Newburgh, NY – Riverkeeper has issued the attached letter to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Stewart Air National Guard Base calling for immediate cessation of all discharges at the base and airport that have tested positive for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The letter states:

“The public health of the 29,000 people – families and their children – that rely upon the City of Newburgh’s drinking water are put at risk when contaminants are not stopped from entering Brown’s Pond and Washington Lake. The problems with the drinking water for these residents are not new, but have reached a crisis point. There has been a failure at multiple levels of government to protect Newburgh’s drinking water, and as a result, degraded water quality has been the norm for a generation.

“These conditions must not be allowed to continue. We urge each of you to take this opportunity to set a course starting today that will lead to improved water quality over the next generation.”

Riverkeeper has previously raised concerns about state regulation of water quality in the watershed, specifically in regard to permitting of stormwater discharges from the Air National Guard base.

Specifically, Riverkeeper calls on the airport and the base to:

  • Immediately and permanently prevent discharge from the outfall at Recreation pond.
  • Investigate and monitor the source(s) of the contamination.
  • Ensure any contaminated water undergoes full remedial treatment before its discharge.
  • Ensure that any ongoing discharges from their properties to the drinking water supply of the City of Newburgh are treated to, at minimum, standards consistent with Class A drinking water.
  • Institutionalize a spill reporting system with the City of Newburgh to assist in the protection of its drinking water.
  • Fund a comprehensive planning and implementation effort to map and protect the City of Newburgh’s drinking water supply.

You can read the letter in PDF format at this link.

Riverkeeper is a member-supported watchdog organization dedicated to defending the Hudson River and its tributaries and protecting the drinking water supply of nine million New York City and Hudson Valley residents.