Water Districts Condemn Northrop Grumman For Refusal To Pay Toxic Clean Up

May 18, 2016

A model of a fighter jet outside the former Grumman Corp. plant in Bethpage, N.Y. in 2014. Officials have been working for years to clean up a plume of contaminated water emanating from the Long Island facility.
Credit Frank Eltman / AP

Three Long Island water districts have sent a letter to Northrop Grumman headquarters in Virginia criticizing the company for letting groundwater contamination spread in and around its former plant in Bethpage.

A three-mile plume of toxic chemicals moving underneath the ground began forming 60 years ago as the defense contractor built fighter jets for the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Grumman and the U.S. Navy began investigating the plume in 1988. The multimillion dollar operation led to the installation of treatment systems inside water district facilities and homes in the plume’s wake.

Last year, New York State, Grumman and the U.S. Navy entered into an agreement for the plume’s clean up.

Under the agreement, Grumman is responsible for remediating the affected areas.

Local politicians and environmentalists have called on Grumman and the Navy to bear the lion’s share of a $70 million water treatment plant to remediate the plume completely.

The Navy and Grumman have not agreed to pay. They say they will keep testing and treating groundwater in the affected areas.