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Students join petition drive to protect Massapequa water

The main campus of Massapequa High School houses

The main campus of Massapequa High School houses 2,000 students in grades 10 to 12. The principal is Barbara Williams. About 300 students take placement tests each year, and more than 94 percent will go on to two- and four-year colleges, according to the school district website. (July 14, 2011) Credit: Frank Posillico

Students in the Advanced Placement Environmental Science class at Massapequa High School have collected more than 1,000 signatures for a petition circulated by the Massapequa Water District urging remediation of a contamination plume before it hits the Massapequa groundwater supply.

The water district plans to submit the petition to legislators in Albany once 5,000 signatures are collected.

The action was spurred by a class trip to the Massapequa Water District, where the students learned about the contamination plume generated from the Northrop-Grumman Navy site in Bethpage, school officials said.

“The students learned that the plume contains carcinogenic volatile organic compounds or VOCs from the Grumman operation that has spanned decades,” environmental science teacher Gregory Kwas said in a statement, “and that the Massapequa Water District is the next district that could be impacted. Knowing this clearly motivated them to get involved with the petition drive.”

While the water district contends that its nine wells have not yet been impacted by the plume, it states in an online letter that “this will change unless swift and determined action is undertaken to remediate the highly contaminated plume and prevent the contamination from advancing toward our wells.”

The class plans to promote awareness on this subject at the Westfield Sunrise Mall’s Celebrate Massapequa event on May 5. To learn more about the Massapequa Water District and the online petition, click here to visit

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