An idea to send treated toxic groundwater from a Bethpage plume — first into a creek and eventually the Atlantic — was among several topics discussed at a Wednesday night meeting in the hamlet of residents and Navy officials.
About 130 residents crowded into the Bethpage Senior Community Center for the meeting about the plume and Navy efforts to clean up the contamination.
Officials with the Navy Environmental Restoration Program said before any effort to release treated plume water into the ocean, numerous hurdles would need to be overcome, including permitting and environmental regulations.
The Naval agency hosted the meeting, which included state officials and community members serving on a cleanup advisory board.
A hot spot of contamination around Hicksville Road and Stewart Avenue north of Hempstead Turnpike was on the agenda. TCE levels have been reported as high as 4,700 parts per billion there.
The Navy is drilling monitoring wells to define the hot spot area and is working on treatment ideas.
“We’re working on remediating this as we continue to investigate,” navy contractor David Brayack said.
Before the treated groundwater ever flowed into the Atlantic Ocean, it would pass through Oyster Bay after being poured into Massapequa Creek from a treatment facility still in the planning stages, Brayack said.
The Navy is scouting land to build the facility and construction would not begin until 2021 at the earliest, he said.
The meeting came on the same day that the Town of Oyster Bay closed down a playground area and tennis courts at Bethpage Community Park following reports that the state was investigating claims that drums had been uncovered there in the 1990s and subsequently reburied.
Residents at Wednesday night’s meeting asked questions about radium levels, hot spot areas, drinking water safety and the community park.
The park issue is the latest in a string of developments involving soil contamination and groundwater plumes that have been traced back to years of aviation and space manufacturing on a more than 600-acre site once home to Navy and Grumman operations in Bethpage.
In March, DEC ordered Northrop Grumman to grant access to wells monitoring a Bethpage plume after the water district reported it had hit the drinking water standard for the radioactive element radium at one well off Sophia Street. The affected well had been offline since 2013 and only used for emergencies because of elevated radium levels. Recent testing revealed the concentration was above drinking water standards.
Robert Schick, director of DECs Division of Environmental Remediation, said the agency tested in the area for radium last year and again this month at a spot near Grumman where elevated levels of radium showed up in test results. “hopefully we’ll have something to report in the not too distant future,” he said.
A week after the radium disclosure, DEC ordered Northrop Grumman to speed up construction of a treatment well near where a hot spot of the carcinogen trichloroethylene, or TCE, was detected late last year about a mile from Bethpage Community Park. The well had detected 14,700 parts per billion of a mixture of volatile organic chemicals.
Chief among the chemicals was TCE. The drinking water standard for TCE is 5 parts per billion.