A meeting for local residents concerned about the cleanup of toxic groundwater flowing southward from a former Navy Grumman aerospace site in Bethpage is slated for this Thursday evening in Seaford.
The meeting comes as concerned residents are pressing the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to make sure potentially cancerous toxins from the Grumman site removed before affecting water supply wells serving Wantagh, Seaford, Massapequa and Levittown. The public comment period on the state’s plan to address the Grumman cleanup ends on July 30.
The plume of wastewater at the Bethpage site that is posing a risk to residents in southeast Nassau County derives from waste that was buried and covered by Grumman going back to the 1950's. One of these plumes, called Operable Unit 3, or OU3, was discovered 22 years ago and is currently threatening to contaminate the drinking water supplies of residents in Wantagh, Seaford, Massapequa, Levittown, Bellmore and Merrick. Thursday's meeting at the Seaford Fire Department headquarters is being hosted by the Seaford Harbor Civic Association, Nassau Coalition of Civic Associations and the Massapequa Water District.
The State DEC held a meeting last month at Bethpage High School that outlined its plans to stop the plume drifting southward. The meeting was attended by officials from water districts in Massapequa, South Farmingdale and Bethpage. DEC officials they are running a pump on the Grumman site, which was closed in 1996, to prevent the spread of groundwater and investigating more permanent solutions.
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Scheduled to deliver a presentation at Thursday’s meeting is Massapequa Water District Commissioner John Caruso, who organized a petition drive to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office expressing frustration at the lack of progress in stopping the plume.
Phil Franco, president of the Seaford Harbor Civic Association, is concerned about how the plume will impact groundwater in southeast Nassau County communities long-term.
“The plume is going to keep going south into the bay,” said Franco, who is also co-president of the Cedar Creek Oversight Committee. “It will keep migrating.”
The U.S. Navy received approval from the Town of Hempstead Board of Zoning Appoeals in late January to construct six 20,000-pound Granular Activated Vessels enclosed within a 30-foot building on 670 Seamans Neck Road along the Levittown-Seaford border. The Navy project is designed to remove volatile organic compounds detected in water supplies that are linked to the former Grumman property. Franco referred to the Navy’s Seamans Neck Road project as a “band aide” and is hopeful that the DEC will install new wells to help preserve future water supplies in the southeast Nassau County area.
Thursday’s meeting addressing the Grumman groundwater contamination is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Seaford Fire Department headquarters on 2170 Southard Ave.