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Long IslandTowns

Parts of Bethpage park to close for soil tests by Northrop Grumman

Bethpage Community Park is located at 1 Stewart

Bethpage Community Park is located at 1 Stewart Ave. It includes a playground, outdoor swimming pool and a year-round ice skating rink. (March, 19, 2012) Credit: Nicole Bartoline

Portions of the Bethpage Community Park will be closed for an unknown number of days while Northrop Grumman tests for contamination from its former plants.

"The primary contaminants of concern are PCBs, volatile organic compounds, and chromium in the ballfield area; and PCBs and chromium in the access road area," the state Department of Environmental Protection said in a statement last week. Some of the contaminants are known carcinogens.

The park, across the street from Bethpage High School, was built on land that was contaminated by old Northrop Grumman plants.

Earlier this month, Oyster Bay's Town Board voted to give access to Northrop Grumman for the testing, which includes soil sampling and installing monitoring wells to test water, which will be done in line with an agreement reached last year with the state to remediate contamination.

The 19-acre park contains a children's playground, indoor ice-skating rink, swimming pool, cafe, and tennis, basketball and handball courts.

Under a draft agreement between Northrop Grumman and Oyster Bay, the town will prohibit activities in the section of the park being tested, described in agreements as the "western portion" of the park.

Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto said in a statement Tuesday that testing is expected to begin next month and be completed by year's end.

Venditto said the testing would be in and around the former baseball field in the southwest corner of the park that has been fenced off since 2002, when soil testing revealed elevated levels of PCBs.

The portions of the park outside the baseball field were "determined to be safe for public access . . . based on the results of further testing and analyses" in 2002, Venditto said. Venditto said precautions would be taken during the testing to protect public health.

Grumman issued a statement that it has been working "diligently" in recent decades to "address legacy environmental matters in Bethpage."

"In line with our commitment, the company recently entered into an agreement with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to conduct further soil and groundwater sampling in and around the Bethpage Community Park," Grumman officials said.

Over the summer, several elected officials said contamination made a nearby location unsafe to house Central American immigrant children.

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