The Water Crises in Upstate New York and Vermont Continue


The City of Newburgh, NY  was forced to shut down Washington Lake, its primary water supply, due to elevated levels of perfluoroctane sulfonate (PFOS). This chemical is linked to kidney and testicular cancers, low birth rates and other serious health problems. Traced back to PFOS-containing firefighting foam used at Steward Air National Guard Base, Washington Lake’s contamination led to the based being declared a state Superfund site.

Along with the state funding a new filtration system for Newburgh, residents are waiting to find out how the military responds to the orders to clean up the contamination. In the meantime, the first Newburgh residents to have their blood tested by the Department of Health (DOH) in response to the water contamination, will begin to receive their results this month. c


The woes for residents of Bennington where approximately 270 private wells are contaminated with the industrial chemical PFOA. The state says that the North Bennington Chemfab factory that was owned by Saint-Grobain is the source of the pollution. PFOA was used to weatherproof fabric at the Saint-Groban plant. PFOA has been linked to various diseases and cancers, including testicular and kidney cancers, thyroid disease, pregnancy-induced hypertension and as well as other illnesses.

Since the chemical was found in Bennington, Saint-Groban has paid for carbon filters to help ensure residents have clean drinking water but Alyssa Schuren, commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation believes that more should be done to ensure a long term solution, protect property values and hold those responsible for the contamination accountable.