DEC backs cleanup plan at Bethpage site

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The state Department of Environmental Conservation is recommending a $61.5 million cleanup plan to remove contaminants and halt the flow of a toxic underground plume from a former Northrop Grumman waste disposal site in Bethpage.

The proposal focuses on a 3.75-acre parcel of the 18-acre Bethpage Community Park in Oyster Bay Town that for years was used to dispose of paint, oily waste, chromium-tainted sludge, arsenic, solvents and other compounds.

The remedy calls for installing at least one monitoring well, excavating 45,000 cubic yards of contaminated shallow soil, and another 25,000 cubic yards of deeper soils that have high levels of polychlorinated biphenyl, a carcinogen.

Some nearby residential yards would also be tested and perhaps excavated, said Robert Schick, acting director of the DEC's Division of Environmental Remediation.

A final decision on the plan is expected this fall. Treatment and monitoring could take at least 30 years, he said.

It's the third plan to address the park contamination that occurred between 1949 and 1962, and should halt the flow of a plume that has now commingled with a larger one that is currently being treated.

Anthony Sabino, an attorney representing the Bethpage Water District, called the latest strategy "woefully inadequate to protect the aquifers and water supplies."

"We now have high concentrations of contamination in Bethpage, new contamination in East Farmingdale and approaching contamination in Massapequa," he said.

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Sabino said multiple treatment wells are needed.

Oyster Bay Town won't formally comment on the proposal until officials hear from DEC and have time to discuss the ramifications, Supervisor John Venditto said.

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"The ballfield area of Bethpage Community Park has been closed since April 2002, and we are very pleased to see steps being taken toward a resolution of this issue," he said.

Northrop Grumman is also reviewing the plan, said Lon Rains, sector director for Strategic Communications.

The DEC is taking comments through June 30. A community meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Bethpage Senior High School, 10 Cherry Ave.

Information sessions will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday and 2:30 to 4 p.m. Tuesday at Bethpage Community Center, 103 Grumman Rd. West.

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