Top officials from the U.S. Department of Defense, Air Force and more will hold a public forum to discuss the contaminated Newburgh drinking water crisis.

Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus announced plans to hold a public forum to inform and educate the community regarding contamination identification and mitigation efforts at Washington Lake in the City of Newburgh as a result of Stewart Air National Guard base’s prior use of Aqueous Film Forming Foam.

In May 2016, City of Newburgh residents learned their drinking water supply was contaminated with the man-made chemical Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) at concentrations above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently updated lifetime drinking water health advisory level. PFOS is a potentially toxic chemical.

Studies show that exposure to PFOS over certain levels may result in adverse health effects, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, liver damage, low birth weight, and other serious health effects.

The open house question and answer session will begin at 1 p.m. on Thursday, November 15 at the Newburgh Armory, which is located at 321 South William Street.

The Senior Department of Defense, Air Force and local officials will participate in the event.

After the question and answer session, DoD Senior Leaders will conclude the event with a recap of current measures and outline steps going forward.

“We welcome the DoD and Air Force in their agreement to come to Newburgh and address the concerns of both residents and local officials about the City’s water supply,” Neuhaus said. “We encourage all agencies involved to be informative and transparent with residents while setting the ground work on positive interagency collaboration to expedite mitigation efforts.”

Discussion tables will be set up for respective agencies including:

  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
  • New York State Department of Health
  • U.S. Air National Guard - Restoration Program
  • Site Investigation Contractor
  • Restoration Advisory Board: Which will invite participation from the community
  • Orange County Department of Health