49° Good Morning
49° Good Morning
Long IslandSuffolk

Groundwater cleanup inching toward finish

A file photo of an aerial view of

A file photo of an aerial view of the site for EPCAL industrial park. (Jan. 27, 2011) Credit: Randee Daddona

A plan to deal with groundwater pollution at the former Grumman aircraft assembly plant at Calverton -- now Riverhead's town-owned Enterprise Park at Calverton (EPCAL) -- is inching toward completion, with a public hearing on the latest version scheduled for Dec. 13.

The need for a cleanup was first recognized in the mid-1990s, when jet fuel and gasoline from spills and underground storage-tank leaks were found in the groundwater. The first phase of an environmental assessment began in 1995.

The current plan includes land-use controls to keep people out of the area where volatile organic compounds are leaching out of the soil. It also calls for the removal, treatment and recharge of groundwater at the EPCAL fence line to limit the spread of contamination, and off-site monitoring to see whether additional work is needed.

If necessary, officials say, they could inject air or oxygen underground to hasten the elimination of contaminants, a process known as air sparging.

The area under study is in the south central part of EPCAL, but also includes the area southeast of that property as far as the Peconic River.

Officials from the U.S. Navy -- which owned the Grumman facility and is drawing up the remediation plan to deal with the pollution -- and the state Department of Environmental Conservation will answer questions about the proposed work on Dec. 13. Cleanup costs would be paid by the Navy.

The meeting, called a Public Availability Session, will be from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Calverton Community Center in the EPCAL facility, which is located at the former gatehouse off River Road.

The highly technical plan is on file at the Riverhead public library, at the reference desk. It's one of dozens of white binders that contain more than 15 years of studies to determine precisely what is in the pollution plume, where it is and the best ways to deal with it.

A 45-day public comment period on the plan began Thursday and ends Jan. 17. Those who want a copy of the plan or who wish to comment can contact Henry Wilkie at the state DEC by writing him at 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7015, calling 518-402-9622 or emailing

Lora Fly, the public affairs officer for the U.S. Navy, can be contacted at 757-341-2012 or, or by writing to Public Affairs Officer, code 09PA, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Mid Atlantic, 9742 Maryland Ave., Building A81, Norfolk, VA 23411.

Latest Long Island News