The New York city of Newburgh is currently suing the federal government, as they have accused several government offices and state agencies of polluting the city’s lake. For over two year, the city’s largest water supply has been closed due to the high presence of a chemical usually associated with cancer and other diseases.

According to a Times Herald-Record report, the U.S. Department of Defense and Air Force, the state Department of Transportation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the National Guard are only some of the lawsuit’s targets. They reportedly allowed for the chemical perfluorooctane sulfonate to enter the lake and contaminate it, even though they had used prevention methods to avoid that from happening.

The city of Newburgh asks in the lawsuit for a cleanup of Washington Lake and to compensate the city for costs so that further investment in other fields can be done. Its mayor stated:

“The City is asking the court to hear and respond to our citizens’ exposure to toxic contaminants. We are standing up for our citizens’ rights to clean and healthy water, and demanding damages so we can provide our citizens rebates for the contaminated water they received.”

An environmental change has been a long time coming, as authorities stated two years ago that they would stop using Washington Lake as a source for water due to contamination. This caused for outrage among the citizens, not only because of the limited water that they are now facing, but because of the city’s overall attachment to the lake. The measure has been well received by the environmentalist community, as it displays how people who are concerned for their city’s well-being can still get their voices heard and cause for actual change in their society.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons