2018 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2018 14:47:49 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] PFAS: Newburgh's (NY) water crisis
The Tainted Water Crisis In Upstate New York That Andrew Cuomo Can’t Shake
The City of Newburgh’s desperate bid to eliminate the chemical contaminating its water could radically change the way New York regulates water, and create major problems for the military.

By Alexander C. Kaufman
Huffington Post
March 9, 2018

NEWBURGH, N.Y. ― Lately, Wayne Vradenburgh daydreams about a demotion.

Vradenburgh has spent his entire career working for the water department of Newburgh, an upstate New York city of 28,000 people, most of whom are Hispanic or black. He started as an assistant water maintenance mechanic at 18, repairing fire hydrants. Two decades later, in 2016, he took the top job of superintendent. He made plans to fix leaky pipes, and mostly just aspired to keep things running smoothly for the poverty-stricken city of dilapidated brownstones nestled on the Hudson River. 

Then, a mere two weeks after he took over, state health officials pulled up in his driveway. They had grim news. Lake Washington, the 1.3 billion-gallon reservoir that had served the city since the 1880s, had tested positive for a dangerous chemical. Vradenburgh soon found himself frantically studying the names of tongue-twister chemicals he’d never heard of, going head-to-head with state and federal agencies, and working 70-hour weeks overseeing $50 million in emergency projects. 

“It’s been a whirlwind ever since,” said Vradenburgh, 40, as he brushed his hand through his hoary hair, which contrasted starkly with his sandy brown, neatly trimmed beard. “I’ve got a lot more grays now.”

The contamination started back in 1990 when the nearby Stewart Air National Guard Base, home to the 105th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard, spilled 4,000 gallons of fire-fighting foam into a stream that flows directly into Lake Washington. That foam contained perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, an invisible, flavorless industrial chemical that clings to water molecules. PFOS has been linked to cancer, thyroid problems and chronic kidney disease, and can accelerate puberty, delay mammary gland development, lower sperm count and raise cholesterol.


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