NEWBURGH – City Manager Michael Ciaravino says state and federal officials are trying to pressure Newburgh leadership to approve returning to Washington Lake as its water supply rather than continue to use New York City Catskill Aqueduct water.
Ciaravino, who pulled the plug on the reservoir water supply three years ago when it was learned it contained Stewart Airport Air National Guard-fed PFOS and PFOA chemicals, said the source of the contamination has still not been cleaned up by the Department of Defense. And he said the city should not be pressured to return to that source even with a state-funded filtration system that will not completely purify the water.
“It’s more importantly for the City of Newburgh a question of having the political backbone and legal fortitude – we are represented by competent counsel and litigation counsel – to hold our ground and to not have lobbyists, the professionals from Albany, coming down here and chipping away, one representative at a time until they get the votes to convince us that we need to compromise our position for a grand ribbon cutting or perhaps a visit to the governor’s mansion,” he said.
Ciaravino said while the Department of Defense has not provided the funding for a cleanup, the price of one of the Air National Guard’s C-17 cargo jets at Stewart would probably pay for the work.