Northrop Grumman officials detailed the company’s plans to address contamination coming from a plume under Bethpage Community Park at a public meeting Tuesday that attracted several dozen local residents concerned about the plume and the proposed treatment system.
The plan includes drilling three wells to pull groundwater from 450 feet to 550 feet below ground, then running the water through systems that would remove volatile organic compounds before releasing the treated, cleaned water to a recharge basin on Arthur Avenue.
The wells would be in a straight line about 1.5 miles south of the plume at the park. One would be in a municipal parking lot owned by the Town of Oyster Bay near Broadway and Central Avenue, one would be drilled on Broadway and William Street, and the third would be drilled off Broadway below Arthur Avenue.
“You’re capturing a significant portion of the plume with those three wells,” said Mike Wolford, a senior hydrogeologist with Arcadis, a consulting firm that is working with Northrop Grumman on the plan.
The wells would be drilled and completed on an “expedited” schedule, said Ed Hannon of Northrop Grumman. “Our goal is to minimize impact” on the surrounding neighborhood.
Gammon said each well would take about two months to install, and the company hopes to begin drilling two of the wells next month, in addition to taking soil borings to allow it to pick a site for the third well.
Residents at the meeting peppered officials with questions that reflected a wide range of concerns, including the quality of the water they drink, any possible health effects from the drilling and more practical matters about how motorists and property owners would navigate the work areas.
Hannon told the crowd that Northrop Grumman planned the work for the summer, when school was out and school buses wouldn’t be traversing the area.
Steve Karpinski of the New York State Department of Health said there would be monitoring in place to ensure the surrounding community would not be exposed to volatile organic compounds in any fumes or dust from the project.
“We’ll have an excellent ability to make sure nothing is being generated,” Karpinski said. “We’ll know within 15 minutes if there are any increases in those volatile organic compounds.”
He said a very low level of the compounds would trigger a work stoppage or an action to reduce the levels.
“We’re not talking about the community being impacted by a large vapor cloud,” he said.
Northrop Grumman had once dumped solvents and other materials legally at the site before it became a park, which led to the plume. The company is paying for the project, which Hannon said was estimated to be in operation for 10 years.
“By us taking an aggressive approach and the three-well system, we’re now looking at something in the neighborhood of 10 years,” he said.
Hannon also said officials believe the system will address the contamination.
“We have a high degree of confidence this is going to control and contain the plume,” he said.
Terry Auletta lives in North Babylon, but was at the meeting on behalf of her mother-in-law, who lives on Broadway near one of the proposed well sites.
“She’s scared to death,” Auletta said of her relative.
Auletta said she came away from the meeting with some answers, but also some concerns.
“It doesn’t look like it’s going to be in front of her house,” she said of the remediation well. But she said it proved difficult to find out more information about the plume, which she said was still a concern.
“Thank goodness she doesn’t do gardening in the ground anymore,” Auletta said. “I will follow this more.”