New York has finalized a $104.4 million agreement with Northrop Grumman to clean up pollution coming from the company’s former Bethpage operations and to prevent further contamination, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James announced Wednesday.
The parties filed a consent judgment Wednesday in federal court in Brooklyn that finalizes an agreement first reached in principle in December 2020 as part of a $406 million plan to address the plume created by the former Grumman Aerospace’s decades of waste dumping.
Once approved by federal Judge Nina Gershon, the Grumman settlement will include $29 million for the Bethpage Water District, the local drinking water provider most impacted by the plume, and $12.5 million for the South Farmingdale Water District, which has drinking water wells in the vicinity.
State officials said the agreement holds the company accountable for years of polluting.
“With this historic agreement, we are delivering justice to Long Island communities that for too long have been negatively impacted by the groundwater plume, while holding polluters accountable for their actions,” Hochul said in a statement.
James in a statement said the company knew its disposal sites leeched toxic chemicals into the ground, but long denied responsibility.
“Long Islanders have paid the price for the company’s negligence but today, we’re finally forcing Grumman to address its environmental abuse by paying the municipalities and the state that had to clean up its mess,” James said in a statement.
Newsday in 2020 published an investigation, The Grumman Plume: Decades of Deceit, that detailed the history of false and misleading statements, missteps and minimization that aided the pollution’s spread.
New wells installed by Grumman on the east side of the plume will help clean up volatile organic compounds and hazardous substances released by these facilities, which include Trichloroethylene, a metal degreaser, and 1,4-Dioxane, an industrial byproduct. The $104.4 million also accounts for about $40 million worth of work already performed by Grumman.
As part of the larger deal, the U.S. Navy, which owned a portion of the facility, will also complete its obligations outlined in what is called an Explanation of Significant Difference. That was finalized in September.
Northrop Grumman spokesman Vic Beck said Wednesday’s agreement builds on collaborations with the state, the Bethpage Water District and the Navy to address contamination from historical operations.
“We are pleased the State has filed our agreement with the court, after having had an opportunity to address any remaining questions during an extended public comment period,” he said in a statement. "We look forward to the State obtaining final court approval.”