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Bethpage Residents Hear State's Plan To Clean Up Toxic Plume

Frank Eltman
A fighter jet model outside former Grumman Corp. plant in Bethpage. Grumman, now Northrop Grumman, manufactured aircraft used during the Cold War. Officials have been working for years to clean up a toxic plume emanating from the facility.

New York State officials have presented a plan to Bethpage residents to contain and treat a toxic plume. The public hearing is the start of an aggressive cleanup effort to remove the contaminants from the groundwater.

A Northrop Grumman and U.S. Navy manufacturing plant created the toxic Bethpage plume over decades. The plume contaminated the groundwater in nearby wells and has been slowly spreading for years.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation plans to treat millions of gallons of water a day and discharge it into a nearby basin.

“The plume will dramatically change over the next 20 years. They’re going to attack the hotspots, the bulk of the mass, pretty much you have 90% of the plume in 20% of the water,” said Bethpage Water Superintendent Michael Boufis.

The DEC says it could take more than a century to treat the contamination.

The state wants Northrop Grumman and the Navy to pay for the treatment, but will be ready to begin remediation this year without them and sue for payment later.

Jay Shah is a former Long Island bureau chief at WSHU.
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