TODAY'S PAPER
86° Good Afternoon
86° Good Afternoon
Long IslandEnvironment

Bethpage area residents criticize Northrop Grumman toxic waste removal plan

Bethpage-area residents at a meeting Thursday night criticized Northrop Grumman's plan to install a water pipe on a residential street to remove toxic materials from groundwater contaminated by a plume that has plagued the community for decades.  (Credit: Newsday / Yeong-Ung Yang)

Bethpage-area residents at a meeting Thursday night criticized Northrop Grumman's plan to install a water pipe on a residential street to remove toxic materials from groundwater contaminated by a plume that has plagued the community for decades. 

Some, like 70-year resident Robert Horan and Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino, told Northrop Grumman officials at the meeting that they hope the defense contractor would return to its original state-approved plan to run the 2,200-foot water pipe along nonresidential areas in the massive effort to clean up the groundwater plume caused by industrial and military operations with the U.S. Navy.

The two entities had set up manufacturing, research and testing facilities on a more than 600-acre plot in Bethpage beginning in the late 1930s. The facility was home to the Apollo moon lander and the birthplace of Hellcat, Tigercat and Albatross planes during World War II and the Korean War.

Northrop Grumman's alternative plan calls for a water pipe along a four-block stretch of North Windhorst Avenue in Bethpage instead of along an easement on property partially owned by King Kullen, the supermarket giant.

Edward Hannon, a Northrop Grumman project manager, told the 15 or so residents at the Bethpage Community Center on the Grumman property that the company could not convince the grocery chain to allow the pipe to run through its property. Two other property owners along the easement, the State Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Bethpage Water District, were more amenable to the plan, Hannon said.

“There was no giving,” Hannon said of King Kullen, adding that the original plan to run the pipe through a commercial area two blocks east of North Windhorst was pursued for 18 months.

Dave Pigott, a 15-year resident of the street, said he and his wife cannot walk long distances, so they are concerned their car would be blocked by the estimated two months of construction.

“We can’t be blocked in,” he said, adding that he is not against the alternative but wants to insure access to and from his home. “We just want to be able to get in and out of our house with no problem.”

Saladino said he was exploring having the easement seized through eminent domain.

“We need to do this in a way that puts the least inconvenience on the residents,” he said.

Northrop Grumman, not residents, are "fully responsible" for the contamination, Saladino said.

Horan agreed.

 “It doesn’t make sense for us not to try as hard as possible for eminent domain,” he said at the meeting.

Residents of all 46 homes along the street were invited, said Dianne Baumert-Moyik, a spokeswoman for Northrop Grumman.

The project is a small portion of a two-pronged effort to both contain the spread of the plume and also remove and treat the contaminated water.

The plume, which a recent study concluded is now more than 4 miles long, up to 2 miles wide at one point, and 900-feet deep, is to be cleaned up as part of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's proposed five-year plan by drilling 24 wells to pump 17.5 million gallons of water per day to five treatment plants. That water would then be released to the aquifer through four basins and irrigation at Bethpage State Park.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

Latest Long Island News