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Northrop Grumman withdraws Bethpage well proposal

Northrop Grumman has withdrawn a proposal to install a treatment well to remove groundwater contamination in a Bethpage neighborhood after residents voiced concerns about safety and access.

The defense contractor initially wanted to install at least two remediation wells and four monitoring wells on Seaman Avenue and also along intersections on Broadway, south of Central Avenue.

Most of the work planned would have been done out of traffic areas in public right-of-ways or a parking lot, save for one at the intersection of Broadway and William Street.

At that location, Northrop Grumman proposed to close the intersection plus 100 feet of roadway and sidewalks to the north and east, as well as 40 feet of road to the south and west. The closure was estimated to last 60 days.

During an Oyster Bay Town Board meeting Tuesday, Northrop Grumman sought only one remediation well and four monitoring wells, excluding the site at Broadway and William Street.

“They’re looking at options to either reduce the impact of that location or to altogether avoid that location,” town spokeswoman Marta Kane said.

In a statement, Northrop Grumman spokesman Vic Beck said the defense contractor was working with state Department of Environmental Conservation officials and “evaluating potential alternative locations that support the remediation objectives of the project.”

At a community meeting held by Northrop Grumman June 21 and at the Oyster Bay Town Board meeting, residents expressed concerns about the remediation well at Broadway and William, which is also a bus stop.

“We’re not saying we don’t want them to do the remediation work but if they could fine tune it to another area that would have the same result, I can’t see how that is not viable,” resident Helene Richardson said. “We just want a better place to have the work done.”

From the late 1930s through 1996, the Navy and what is now Northrop Grumman operated testing, manufacturing and development operations on a more than 600-acre site in Bethpage. Groundwater contamination was discovered in the 1940s and the state DEC is overseeing cleanup of soil contamination and a number of plumes.

In March, DEC ordered Northrop Grumman to speed up treatment of a hot spot portion of that plume after a monitoring well near Seaman Avenue detected 14,700 parts per billion of a mix of volatile of organic chemicals, including the solvent trichloroethylene, or TCE, which is considered a likely carcinogen.

In response, Grumman submitted plans for a remediation well off Seaman Avenue in a public parking lot and one at the Broadway and William Street location.

Drilling of monitoring wells is also scheduled along Broadway at intersections with Wilson Lane, Sophia Street, Arthur Avenue and North Windhorst Avenue.

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