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DEC: Air National Guard Base A Superfund Site

Sen. Chuck Schumer toured Washington Lake on Aug. 9 and announced legislation that would require the Air Force to conduct tests regarding groundwater contamination that polluted the lake, which was the city’s water source. The pollution is believed to have come from the Stewart Air National Guard Base. If the Air Force is responsible, his legislation would require it pay for the cleanup. Schumer is seen here with County Executive Steve Neuhaus and City Manager Michael Ciaravino. (photo by Bob Root)

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Sen. Chuck Schumer toured Washington Lake on Aug. 9 and announced legislation that would require the Air Force to conduct tests regarding groundwater contamination that polluted the lake, which was the city’s water source. The pollution is believed to have come from the Stewart Air National Guard Base. If the Air Force is responsible, his legislation would require it pay for the cleanup. Schumer is seen here with County Executive Steve Neuhaus and City Manager Michael Ciaravino. (photo by Bob Root)

By Mark Gerlach

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has identified the Stewart Air National Guard Base as a Superfund site, an area suspected of pollution and requiring remediation.

The DEC pointed a finger at the U.S. Department of Defense for potentially causing the chemical perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, or PFOS, to contaminate Washington Lake, the City of Newburgh’s public drinking supply, an announcement from the DEC said. The Department of Defense oversees the Stewart Air National Guard Base.

It has been suspected that the Air National Guard Base is the source of the contamination. Last week Sen. Chuck Schumer toured the lake, and urged accountability for the pollution.

Preliminary DEC tests have classified parts of the Stewart Air National Guard Base as a “significant source of the PFOS contamination” discovered in the lake, the DEC announcement said. Some of the highest concentrations of PFOS were detected in an outfall from the Air National Guard Base that drains into Silver Stream, a Washington Lake tributary. Groundwater samples taken from monitoring wells, as well as surface water samples from a retention pond on the base, also detected high PFOS levels.

The pollution is believed to have come from a foam used at the base to fight fires during emergencies and training exercises.

To read the full article see the Friday, Aug. 19 editions of The Sentinel and Orange County Post. 

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