CDC and ATSDR hosted two online information sessions to provide an update on the ongoing work across all eight exposure assessment sites.

Orange County (NY) near Stewart Air National Guard Base

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Beginning Friday, October 23, 2020, ATSDR resumed field biological sampling collection activities of the PFAS exposure assessment in Orange County, New York. A random selection of households received invitation letters explaining the assessment and registration process. ATSDR called selected households to invite them to participate, or to reschedule appointments.

Environmental sampling will not occur during the biological sampling phase because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.

ATSDR will place additional health and safety precautions to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 when conducting the exposure assessment.

Newburgh, NY


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will begin an exposure assessment of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water near the Stewart Air National Guard Base (ANGB).  The assessment will start in February 2020 and focus on a random selection of households served by the City of Newburgh drinking water system. As a part of this assessment, we will recruit participants and conduct blood and urine testing. 

Use and spills of aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) containing PFAS occurred at the Stewart Air National Guard base during firefighting training and emergency responses. The PFAS chemicals traveled into the surface water affecting the City of Newburgh’s drinking water sources. 

In 2013, PFAS levels from samples taken at the City’s primary drinking water source, Washington Lake, were higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) current health advisory level, but lower than the provisional health advisory at the time. The EPA lowered their health advisory in May 2016. The City of Newburgh removed Washington Lake from service and began using its backup water supply (Brown’s Pond) in May 2016, prior to the EPA’s lowering of the health advisory. In June 2016, the drinking water system was connected to the New York City Catskill Aqueduct. Based on information available to the ATSDR, the City of Newburgh drinking water supply currently meets federal and state PFAS guidelines. 

Sampling Area 

CDC/ATSDR has identified a random selection of households exposed to PFAS in their drinking water through the City of Newburgh’s public drinking water system. City of Newburgh water customers include residents of the City of Newburgh and some homes within the Town of Newburgh. Choosing a random selection of households to participate will help estimate exposure for all community members, even those not selected to participate. Residents with private wells will not be recruited because very few private wells exceeded the PFAS health advisory level and we would not be able to draw meaningful conclusions for this group. 

All individuals living in selected households are eligible to participate if they: 

  • are 3 years of age or older (children will be included in the exposure assessment only if we have consent from a parent or legal guardian) 
  • do not have a bleeding disorder and are not anemic 
  • have lived in the sampling area for at least one year before May 2, 2016. 

You do not need to be a United States citizen to participate. If you speak a language other than English, we can provide translation for you.

The map shows the City of Newburgh and the sampling area for the PFAS exposure assessment in Orange County, New York. The footprint of the sampling area overlaps with the City of Newburgh.


CDC and ATSDR began an exposure assessment in February 2020. Recruitment lasts about five weeks, then we will be in Newburgh for approximately two weeks for sampling. Individual results will be mailed to participants. This could take several months. We will also write a final report summarizing the findings and recommendations for your community and present the results at a public meeting. 

Information Session

CDC/ATSDR scientists previously held an information session to inform the community about ATSDR, the PFAS exposure assessment, the participant recruitment process, and upcoming PFAS testing.

February 11, 2020
5:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Presentation will start at 6:00 p.m.

City of Newburgh Activity Center
401 Washington Street
Newburgh, NY 12550

For More Information
For information on work being done in the City of Newburgh, Orange County, NY, contact Luis Rivera-Gonzalez, Region 2 Toxicologist, 732-906-6933,

Page last reviewed: October 27, 2020