The former Grumman airport at Calverton, as seen in May...

The former Grumman airport at Calverton, as seen in May 2011. Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Riverhead residents said they want the Navy to expand its testing at the former Grumman naval weapons site at Calverton for potentially harmful chemicals into other areas.

More than 60 people, including town, Suffolk County and congressional officials, listened to the Navy’s presentation on Wednesday at the Calverton Restoration Advisory Board’s meeting. Navy officials discussed the results of sampling and testing they did at the Calverton site last spring and fall.

Among the highlights, the Navy took 80 groundwater samples from 13 locations near a section of the property where fire training once took place in the 1950s using foam containing perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The tests found 14 samples exceeded U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-recommended levels, while 66 samples were below the agency’s levels.

On the site’s southern end, all 74 groundwater samples taken from 10 locations tested for PFAS were found to be below both state- and EPA- recommended levels.

Navy officials said that in September they resampled 14 properties with private drinking water wells that were previously sampled in 2018. All those wells were found to be below EPA- and state-recommended levels for such chemicals.

Residents at the meeting, however, said they were frustrated with the length of time the process was taking.

Kelly McClinchy, a resident on Old River Road within a mile of the southern part of the property, said most of her neighbors are drinking bottled water to avoid potential chemical exposure, but were “very concerned” because they still use water to shower and wash clothes.

Joel Litvin, 67, who lives on WadingRiver-Manor Road off the west side of the site, said he wanted the Navy to focus testing efforts toward the west. Litvin said medical exams he took found levels of arsenic and other chemicals in his blood, which he attributed to the water he showered in.

Lora Fly, remedial project manager for Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic, said she understood residents’ concerns regarding health and water quality, and she would be relaying their recommendations to Navy officials.

The Navy is planning a second round of water level collection and groundwater sampling in the spring and summer, with plans to discuss those results at another meeting later this fall.

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