Air National Guard PFAS cleanup at Stewart base is ‘failed’

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Washington Lake

NEWBURGH – Riverkeeper and Newburgh Clean Water Project ae calling on the Air National Guard to commit to an aggressive schedule to clean up PFAS pollution at the Stewart Air National Guard Base as a new agreement is negotiated with the state that they say will influence the next two years of remediation.

The current two-year agreement expires this month.

The groups are calling for three specific actions. They said the filter at Recreation Pond must be repaired. They said after being installed in December 2019, it failed within one month. The advocates had called for the installation three-and-a-half years before.

It has not been in operation since January 2020 as PFAS pollution continues to flow into Silver Stream, which flows into Moodna Creek, a tributary of the Hudson River.

They are also calling for the capacity of the filter at Recreation Pond to be increased and said the remediation process at the Guard base must advance quickly through the next phase.

The City of Newburgh has been receiving its water from the New York City Catskill Aqueduct, paid for by the state. Newburgh’s reservoir, Washington Lake, has been shut off as a water supply for four years.

“The Air National Guard as a responsibility to the people of Newburgh and New Windsor to turn this failed cleanup around, and quickly and thoroughly remove this toxic threat from our water,” said Dan Shapley, water quality program director for Riverkeeper. “More than four years ago, this contamination came to light. Stewart Air National Base was identified then as the source. “The pollution is still flowing downstream.”

Marcel Barrick, for Newburgh Clean Water Project, said they “want action now and through the entire remediation process to protect public health, and the environment, not delays and promises. We have waited too long; we won’t accept anything else.”