Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

January 31, 2017
Contact: Jane Lerner, Director of Strategic Communications
             Office of the County Executive (845) 638-5645


NEW CITY, NY – Well-water located near the Rockland Fire Training Center was recently tested for two substances at the direction of the state Department of Health.

Tests were conducted for the presence of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).

This testing was part of the New York State Water Quality Rapid Response Team's state-wide efforts to identify and test regulated water systems near facilities suspected to be frequent users of PFOA and PFOS, including fire departments and training sites, which may have used fire-fighting foam containing the substances. For more information on the state initiative go here.

PFOA and PFOS were detected in wells near the Fire Training Center at levels well below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion for both substances combined.

"We take drinking water safety very seriously, and are committed to sharing available information with our community in a timely manner," said Rockland County Executive Ed Day. "Test results for these two substances in water samples from wells in Pomona are substantially below the EPA's health advisory level, and indicate that the water is acceptable for all uses, including drinking."

According to the EPA, lifetime exposures to PFOA and PFOS below 70 parts per trillion are not expected to result in adverse health effects, even for the most sensitive population.

Rockland Commissioner of Health Dr. Patricia Ruppert and her staff have reviewed the results.

To date, there have been no detections in Rockland County drinking water approaching the EPA health advisory limit.

The Rockland County Department of Health will be reaching out directly to property owners within a limited area surrounding the wells where PFOA and PFOS were detected to identify where private well-water is being used. The department will continue to work with the state to determine whether any additional testing is warranted.

PFOA and PFOS are fluorinated organic chemicals that have been used in a variety of different consumer products. Most people have been exposed to them. They have also been used in fire-fighting foam.

Rockland Fire Training Center officials have evaluated the materials they are currently using and found they do not contain these substances.

The source of the substances in Pomona has not been determined. There is still much to be learned about the presence of PFOA and PFOS in ground water at levels as low as those detected in Pomona.

"We also want to emphasize that the public water systems that supply water to roughly 95 percent of Rockland residents, including all sources used by Suez Water New York, and the villages of Nyack and Suffern, have already been tested for these substances, as per the EPA's Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule. These substances were not found to be above the reporting limits at any of these water sources. Thus, there is no reason to suspect these substances are widespread in Rockland County at levels approaching the EPA health advisory level," said Dr. Ruppert.

For more information visit the EPA website here.