My role as your representative is in dealing with issues that affect your quality of life. As your state elected official, I’ve been working in Albany for 13 years to protect our environment, keep neighborhoods safe, support the fight against heroin and prescription drug addiction, place stronger restrictions on sex offenders and enact legislation that fixes problems like contaminates in our drinking water.
As a veteran member of the NYS Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, I have motivated my colleagues to join my tireless efforts to force the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to initiate the complete clean-up of the Grumman-Navy plume located in the aquifer system below the ground. Getting this accomplished is a challenge I refuse to give up on.
The Grumman-Navy Plume is a continuously moving pool of chemicals located in the south-east corner of Nassau County’s water supply. Eventually these contaminates (specifically TCE, PCE and vinyl chloride) will reach and possibly contaminate the Great South Bay if it is not stopped by utilizing a process called hydraulic containment.
The Grumman-Navy Plume is the largest of its type and has the highest concentration of chemicals in a sole source aquifer system found anywhere in the United States. It has the potential of affecting the public water supply wells that service approximately 250,000 residents. In comparison, the Flint, MI, water contamination affected approximately 100,000 residents.
Due to expensive well-head treatments currently in use, your water at the tap is safe to drink according to the NYS Department of Health. However, these treatments will not stop the plume from continuing to move southward.
Legislation, which I drafted and sponsored along with Senator Kemp Hannon, Chair of the New York State Senate Health Committee, became law in 2014. It mandated that the DEC prepare a report of hydraulic containment method options which could be utilized to remediate the plume. A letter I wrote to the governor, which was signed by 130 assembly members, clearly communicates the intention of passing this legislation. Bill A 9294 was not only intended for the DEC to prepare the report, but more importantly, to lead to timely facilitating stopping the plume’s migration and fully removing these toxins entirely from the aquifer.
The DEC agreed that the report released this past July clearly demonstrates that hydraulically containing the plume is the best method to ensure it does not continue to threaten the surrounding communities’ drinking water. We have also learned that it is less expensive to contain the plume than it is to build well-head treatment facilities on wells from which we draw drinking water in all of the affected areas.
My fellow elected officials and I will continue to insist that the DEC create a timeline for adopting a plan and to begin building a system to completely contain and remediate the Grumman-Navy Plume. I will keep the public informed as the plans are announced.