Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week that the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has finished an engineering and groundwater modeling investigation and has now proposed a plan to combat the Navy-Grumman Plume. The department is proposing an estimated $585 million full containment and treatment system in order to combat the four-mile-long plume caused by industrial waste.
“New York will not stand idly by as polluters threaten the health and safety of Long Island’s residents and communities,” Cuomo said in a statement. “With the release of this groundbreaking plan to contain and treat the Navy-Grumman plume, we are taking action on a comprehensive system to safeguard communities and ensure that Long Island’s drinking water and environment are protected for generations to come.”
The DEC is looking to install 24 groundwater extraction wells, five treatment plants, four recharge basins and approximately 24 miles of conveyance piping all around the affected region of the plume. In total, the extraction wells would withdraw approximately 12,100 gallons per minute (17.5 million gallons per day) of contaminated water from the aquifer. The extracted groundwater would be treated by five groundwater treatment plants using air stripping technology.
Following the treatment, the cleaned water will be returned to the aquifer system in the newly constructed basin near Bethpage State Park or the existing recharge basins near the Southern State Parkway. This water can then be reused for either irrigation purposes at the state park or to augment surface water flow at Massapequa Creek.
Following a public comment period, the state will issue an Amended Record of Decision formally selecting the remedy. Then, the DEC and the State Department of Health (DOH) will demand Navy and Grumman to implement the selected plan or face repercussions.
“This study is a critical step in achieving the long-overdue goal of containing and treating the Grumman-Navy plume,” said Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino in a statement. “I thank Governor Cuomo and the DEC for their commitment to addressing this environmental hazard. Together with local water districts, we will do everything possible to protect residents, water quality and our fragile ecological resources.”
In addition to the DEC report, the DOH and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry released a health consultation that confirmed no residents are drinking water that contained TCE or related chemicals that would be found in this plume. The contaminated water still needs to be contained as many local representatives in government have argued.
“I am very pleased to see that we are moving forward with cleanup and prevention of water contamination caused by the Grumman-Navy Plume,” said Assemblyman Mike LiPetri. “Residents deserve peace of mind when it comes to clean and reliable drinking water and I am eager to work with the governor to see that the implementation and execution of this project is done quickly and effectively.”
The Massapequa Water District released a statement to the Observer stating that they are in favor of the plan and look forward to continuing to help clean up the plume.
“The Massapequa Water District supports the new cleanup plan,” said Superintendent Stan Carey. “We feel it is long overdue. We are very pleased the plan will fully contain the leading edge of the plume and return the treated ‘clean water’ back into the aquifer.”
Comments on the plan can be sent to Jason Pelton, DEC Project Manager, at Jason.Pelton@dec.ny.gov from now until July 7. A public meeting has been scheduled for 7 p.m. on June 10 at the Bethpage High School, 10 Cherry Ave., in Bethpage.