By Laura Giner Bair
The safety of the City of Newburgh’s drinking water was the most pressing issue at a May 9 city council meeting. A state of emergency was declared last week pertaining to a contaminate in the city’s water supply. The declaration was rescinded one day later.
The decision to draw city water from Brown’s Pond rather than Lake Washington was commended by several residents who expressed concern about possible health implications for themselves and their children.
“Oil and gas we all think are important, but they are luxuries,” city resident Stuart Sachs said. “But water is not a luxury. It is absolutely required for human life.”
The state of emergency was declared “to preserve the public’s safety,” City Manager Michael Ciaravino said. A manmade chemical, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), was discovered in city water at a level under the current limit allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency. However, the EPA is reportedly considering a change to allowable levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate in municipal water.
In rescinding the state of emergency, Ciaravino released a press release stating: “The State of Emergency was declared due to the discovery of perfluorooctane sulfonate in Silver Stream and Washington Lake, posing a threat to public health and safety. However, with extraordinary efficiency and hard work, our water department, engineering staff and department of public works staff have successfully started up the pump station at Brown’s Pond, opened the tap to the Catskill Aqueduct and turned off our supply from Washington Lake. I now believe that our water is safe to drink while we work on the longer term issue of finding a permanent solution to the problem.”
For the complete story see the Friday, May 13 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post.