NEWBURGH – Now that Newburgh’s main water supply, Washington
Lake, has been shut down because of the continued presence of the chemicals
PFOS and PFOA, the city has switched over to its Brown’s Pond for
water. That has not shown any contamination. If that source runs low,
the city will have to tap into the New York City-owned Catskill Aqueduct
and take a big financial hit.
The city council learned Thursday night should Newburgh exceed 3.5 million
gallons per day, it would owe the New York City DEP $233,382 per month,
a figure that startled Mayor Judy Kennedy.
? “It is quite clear that we have to stay under 3.5 million gallons
per day. That is where the water restrictions really come in,” she
If the city stays under 3.5 million gallons per day, the rate for aqueduct
water would be $1,728 per every one million gallons. Once it would go
over that, it would cost $5,093.
As far as the chemicals, city officials said the levels have been the
same for the last couple of years, at between 140 and 180 parts per trillion
while the danger level is 200 parts per trillion. The state is conducting
new tests right now and results have not been finalized, but City Manager
Michael Ciaravino is keeping a watchful eye.
? “The one site that was tested that is of greatest concern to me
and potentially disturbing to me is a site quite a distance away from
Lake Washington that we were told verbally for the PFOS at a value of
5,900 parts per trillion. That is obviously well in excess of the 200
parts per trillion threshold,” he told council members.
State, federal, Orange County and city officials are jointly investigating
the problem and the source of the contamination. Those chemicals are typically
used in aircraft fire suppression and it was mentioned for the first time
Thursday evening that the contamination may be coming from the airport.
The National Guard provides the crash, fire and rescue functions for both
the military and civilian sides of the airport.
Mayor Judy Kennedy and some members of the council were critical of Ciaravino
for declaring a state of emergency last Monday without consulting with
them first. He responded that he had no regrets about issuing the emergency
declaration, but conceded that he should have advised them first.