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The Newburgh, NY Water Contamination Claim

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In 2014, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) was found in Lake Washington. The lake supplied Newburgh’s drinking water, and at the time, the Environmental Protection Agency’s limit of PFOS was 400 parts per trillion. However, 170 parts per trillion were detected in Lake Washington which is below the federal limit of 400. PFOS and other chemicals remained unnoticed for years, meaning the residents of Newburgh had been exposed for a dangerous amount of time.

However, it was not until May 2016 the city of Newburgh declared a state of emergency and stopped using the water from Washington Lake. The levels found, as previously stated, were deemed troubling by officials and due to the found pollutant being also used in firefighting foam, samples from the nearby Stewart Air National Guard Base were taken. Results suggested that a spill of 4,000 gallons of liquid firefighting foam in the early 1990s was the probable cause of contamination.

Since the results were released, many residents have undergone testing to see whether the PFOS is evident in their body. It can take up to three months and even once the results were received, many did not fully understand what they entailed. Therefore, Newburgh residents are holding evening meetings where they can learn more about their blood results. Similarly, if your blood test results ever show signs of water pollution, make sure to contact experienced, professional lawyers such as the ones fighting the Newburgh water contamination case.

What is the Risk of PFOS?

PFOS has been linked to devastating health issues, including cancer and damaging of the immune system. Babies, young children, the elderly and pregnant women are incredibly weakened and at risk and can cause development issues to fetuses. However, studies are inconclusive and cannot determine the full harm PFOS can cause.

How Can You Stop Water Contamination?

An individual will rarely be able to stop water pollution. Therefore, everyone must do their part and ensure litter and toxic waste stays out of streams, rivers, lakes and oceans. Water contamination is a terrifying thought. However, make sure you know the signs of water pollution, such as cloudy/opaque water and loss of translucency, abnormal taste and foul odour. If you are unlucky enough to become the victim of water contamination, make sure to hire an attorney and find out whether you are entitled to compensation.

What’s Next for Newburgh?

Once the chemical had been discovered, state officials opted on filtering the high PFOS out of Lake Washington, in order to remedy their old water supply and make it safe again. While looking for a long-term solution, Newburgh managed to get their water from Brown’s Pond in June 2016. However, due to the limited supply, state officials were forced to look elsewhere and now receive their water from the Catskills Aqueduct.

Now, Newburgh’s congressman wants the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to fund any costing fully, and for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to undergo a two-year research study on PFOS and at what levels the fire-retardant chemicals found in the lake become dangerous to a human’s well-being.

With the chemicals being found at four times the expected level among Newburgh residents, The Department of Defense has agreed to take additional water and soil samples this spring.

The Newburgh issues are ongoing.