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Maloney, State Officials Announce Launch of Newburgh Biomonitoring Program

Sep 20, 2016
Press Release

Newburgh, NY — Representative Sean Patrick Maloney joined New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker, Senator Bill Larkin, and Assemblyman Frank Skartados to announce the launch of a comprehensive biomonitoring program for City of Newburgh residents that may have been exposed to perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in the public drinking water supply. In consultation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the New York State Department of Health (DOH) will soon begin taking blood samples from Newburgh residents.

“My neighbors in Newburgh – and throughout the Hudson Valley – deserve safe drinking water, and they deserve to know if the water they've been drinking is making them sick. I thank the Governor for taking this action to get folks in Newburgh tested  – this is a critical step to learning the extent of our exposure and determining the potential health effects of our contaminated drinking water,” said Rep. Maloney. “I will continue working with the CDC and state and local officials to ensure Newburgh has the resources it needs to provide safe drinking water and prepare for any potential health risks associated with the contamination.”

Since abnormally and unacceptably high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooc­tane sulfonate (PFOS) were found in Newburgh’s water, Rep. Maloney has worked with local, state and federal officials to call for an immediate investigation, hold those responsible accountable, and ensure residents in Newburgh have a clean water source without placing the financial burden on the City.  After the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) declared Stewart Air National Guard (ANG) base a state Superfund site, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) called on the Department of Defense (DoD) to comply with the DEC’s request for a federal remediation program. Immediately after declaring Stewart ANG base an Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site (Class 2), more commonly referred to as a state Superfund site, DEC sent a letter to DoD requesting that they enter into a legally binding agreement to carry out a remediation program with the state and bear some of the cost. Following this request, Rep. Maloney sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, requesting expeditious compliance with this request and “a commitment from the Department of Defense to develop, implement, and finance a Remedial Program for the contamination site.”

On May 19, Rep. Maloney called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to immediately set a clear national standard for acceptable levels of PFOA and PFOS in drinking water. Rep. Maloney also renewed calls for the EPA to provide immediate material assistance to the City of Newburgh to remediate the contamination. On May 13, Rep. Maloney called on the DoD to immediately conduct an investigation into the likely source of the pollution – Stewart Air National Guard Base. In addition to calling for a review of the source of the contaminant, Rep. Maloney asked the DoD to ensure total remediation for the City of Newburgh. On June 8, after a strong push, Rep. Maloney announced that the DoD added Stewart ANG base to their review list and made the investigation into Newburgh water contamination a first priority. After initial reports of contamination in the City of Newburgh water, Rep. Maloney and Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand wrote a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calling for immediate assistance to determine the source of the contamination, test contaminant levels, and formulate a remediation plan.

Rep. Maloney will continue working together with DOH, local leaders, community groups, and federal partners to conduct coordinated outreach and ensure participation from a cross-section of Newburgh residents. This program will serve as a national model for understanding PFOS exposure. Newburgh residents interested in participating or learning more are encouraged to email beoe@health.ny.gov or call the Water Quality Hotline: 800-801-8092 (Monday - Friday: 9 AM – 8 PM; Saturday: 9 AM - 3 PM).