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Northrop Grumman must wait to drill well for Bethpage plume

Ed Hannon, Project Manager for Northrop Grumman, presents

Ed Hannon, Project Manager for Northrop Grumman, presents plans for wells in one of the contaminated zones in Bethpage to the Town of Oyster Bay Town Board on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016 in Oyster Bay. Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Oyster Bay Town Board has delayed a vote to allow Northrop Grumman to drill a permanent well in a residential neighborhood as part of a plan to remove contaminants from one of the groundwater plumes in Bethpage.

The board tabled the vote on the installation of the well on William Street near Broadway in Bethpage until its next board meeting in September. The delay followed complaints from residents aired before the board at its meeting on Tuesday.

“It gives us an opportunity to see if there are other ways” to address the problem, Town Supervisor John Venditto said at the meeting.

The plumes were caused by hazardous chemicals used in aviation manufacturing in Bethpage from the 1930s to the 1990s. Earlier this month, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said in a report that fully containing and removing the contaminants could take up to 100 years and cost up to $587 million.

The plume that the well on William Street would remediate emanates from Bethpage Community Park. In March, the DEC ordered Northrop Grumman to begin construction on a remediation well in Bethpage before the end of the year or face legal action.

Several residents said they are worried about the impact of the well on their health and property values.

John Kenna, 65, said that the plans had been presented to residents in a “piecemeal” fashion and that he was concerned that not enough due diligence had been done.

“It seems like it’s sort of a rush to get these wells dug,” Kenna said.

James Harrington, the DEC’s remediation bureau director, told the board before its vote that “the proposed locations are the best locations.” He added that the remediation well must be vertical as opposed to slanted, which limits where the well locations could be.

Northrop Grumman declined to comment after the vote.

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