NEWBURGH – Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus is demanding that the federal government reimburse the City of Newburgh for costs and damages it continues to incur from the PFAS contamination of the city’s Washington Lake reservoir.
Last week, the Department of the Air Force advised the City of Newburgh that its claim for damages was denied. The contamination came from the use of firefighting foam at the Stewart Air National Guard Base, which is located not far from Washington Lake.
“The federal government is responsible for these damages and should reimburse the City of Newburgh,” Neuhaus said. “The cost to repair this contamination should not be put on the backs of Newburgh taxpayers. Our federal representatives must remain vigilant in seeking justice for the residents of Newburgh and to ensure that the federal government pays for this remediation.”
Neuhaus said that the County’s Legislature will introduce a resolution, calling for the federal government to reimburse the City of Newburgh for the damages sustained due to the PFAS contamination.
The City of Newburgh filed a lawsuit against the federal government in August of last year, asking that the federal government would accept responsibility for the PFAS contamination it caused and work to protect city residents by stopping continuing discharges and cleaning up the watershed. Since May 2016, the City of Newburgh has been tapping into the New York City Catskill Aqueduct for its water with New York State paying for the service.
“The City of Newburgh is extremely disappointed that the feds have doubled down on their position,” Acting Newburgh City Manager Joe Donat said. “I am very grateful that County Executive Neuhaus and the Legislature continue to stand with the City and make sure that our watershed is cleaned up. The City appreciates all of the work that has gone into making sure this issue is resolved, and welcomes the chance to work in collaboration with its partners on all levels of government as we continue to hold the feet of those responsible for this to the fire.”