Firefighting foam leaks into Silver Stream from Stewart Airport hangar

Firefighting foam leaks into Silver Stream from Stewart Airport hangar

Source:, April 15, 2019

Firefighting foam was released from a Stewart International Airport hangar into the environment due to an equipment malfunction on Saturday, authorities said.

Newburgh city officials were notified of the leakage on Sunday by airport representatives, who said the foam has made its way into surface water,  including Silver Stream.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is on-site monitoring the situation and an environmental contractor is working to clean up the contamination.

Newburgh Mayor Torrance Harvey said the investigation is continuing.

“It is my understanding that it’s the Port Authority’s responsibility,” Harvey said. “It’s some sort of foam; they have a chemist on-site at Silver Stream testing the foam. We don’t know exactly what the chemical is.”

It was firefighting foam that was determined to have been leaking into the surface streams and polluting the City of Newburgh’s reservoir, Washington Lake.

Interim City Manager Joseph Donat said the city does not get its drinking water from that contaminated area and tap water remains safe to drink.

“The incident over the weekend has not contaminated the city’s water sources,” Donat said. “… Regarding its water back in 2016, we immediately closed the gate to Washington Lake. That gate has still remained closed and ever since then the city has either been on Brown’s Pond or Catskill Aqueduct water, both of which are safe.”

The manager said the city is “committed to ensuring the quality of its watershed and sent personnel to review the situation.”

Donat said this latest incident demonstrates the city’s former drinking watershed “continues to remain vulnerable to sources of contamination present within the watershed.” He noted the city council had previously passed a resolution prohibiting the use of Washington Lake as a source of drinking water for the city and remains united in its position.

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