Middletown learning from Newburgh, taking steps to protect water supply

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MIDDLETOWN – The City of Middletown doesn’t want to be a repeat of what happened to the City of Newburgh’s water supply, which was contaminated with a carcinogenic chemical resulting in it being shut down.
Both cities get their drinking water from reservoirs outside their city limits and to prevent any contamination problems, Middletown has hired a firm to study its watershed protection.
Middletown Public Works Commissioner Jacob Tawil said going forward they want to be proactive in their water protection.
“Everybody may recall what happened to Newburgh when they had their primary reservoir being polluted by some discharge from Stewart Airport and they ended up having to abandon that reservoir and get another source from New York City and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, and possibly millions, in order to provide their people with water,” Tawil said. “We want to stay ahead of the game and try to protect our reservoirs. Right now they are in a very nice protected area and development has not reached to them.”
Newburgh’s contamination came from the firefighting chemical PFOS at the Stewart Air National Guard Base. The city has been getting its water for a year-and-a-half from the New York City Catskill Aqueduct with the state picking up the tab.
The Middletown study costs $100,000 with the state paying half.