NEWBURGH – Certain species
of fish found in water bodies in and around Newburgh have elevated levels
of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), mainly PFOS, and state officials are
warning recreational anglers not to eat it, but rather to throw back their
catches. The findings come from preliminary results of an ongoing study
to assess the potential impact of the carcinogenic chemical.
The PFOS contamination is believed to come from the New York Air National
Guard Base at Stewart Airport.
In the area of the towns of Newburgh and New Windsor, the state departments
of health and environmental conservation Monday listed those waters from
which anglers should catch and release as Beaver Dam Lake, Lockwood Basin/Masterson
Park Pond, Moodna Creek, Recreation Pond, Silver Stream, the stream from
Stewart State Forest to Beaver Dam Lake, and Washington Lake.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos took aim at the US Department of Defense
over the issue of mitigating the contamination.
“Their continued recalcitrance to advance priority actions to eliminate
sources of contamination in these waterbodies must end, and I am formally
demanding they immediately take action to address contamination coming
from Recreation Pond,” said Seggos.
“Aggressively investigating the full extent of PFC contamination
and its potential impact on public health continues to be our top priority,”
said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “Whether it’s
the water we drink, or the fish that we catch, residents can be assured
that the Department of Health is taking actions to protect New Yorkers.”
Since there are no federal guidelines regarding PFOS levels in fish, the
state compared levels observed in Newburgh to specific advisory levels
set for Michigan and Minnesota, as well as other available sources of
relative health information.
Meanwhile, Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (D, NY-18) announced he is
taking legislative action to ensure that the Department of Defense pays
for the remediation of the chemicals from the Guard base. The bill would
require $35 million to be used specifically for mitigation actions around
the base and an additional $15 million to DoD for carbon filtration of
PFC’s at contaminated sites like Stewart.