Right off the cuffs of Hoosick Falls’ water quality crisis, toxic chemical contamination has been found in Newburgh as well. Similar to Hoosick Falls, PFOS, directly linked to PFOA, is a chemical used in manufacturing of commercial and consumer products.
US Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, in addition to Newburgh’s US Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, are arguing that the EPA needs to both test the water and assist Newburgh in tracing the contamination of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in Silver Stream and Washington Lake.
This is the second major issue for New York State in the last 6 months. Different from Hoosick Falls, Newburgh has the option to switch to an alternative source of water, which allows them to lift the state of emergency on the city – but for how long? Tracing this pollution back to the source is assumed to be through Silver Stream which feeds into Washington Lake – with EPA’s test showing 140 parts per trillion of PFOS, nearing the recommended limit of 200 ppt.
Unfortunately, this does not place Newburgh at a level considered unsafe by the federal government. This may change, however, depending on new PFOA levels to be set by the EPA in the next few months.
PFOA and PFOS are not the only issues of water quality seen in New York State. There has been evidence of lead pollution in schools in areas such as Buffalo, Binghamton, and even concerns raised in New York City.