BETHPAGE - Frustrated residents attended the Navy's semi-annual public meeting in Bethpage Wednesday evening to discuss the cleanup in and around the growing toxic underground plume that threatens their groundwater.
The contamination stems from the site of the former Grumman plant where Navy fighter jets were built. The state recently ordered Grumman to speed up its cleanup process or face legal action.
Laura Fly, the Navy's Remedial Project manager for Bethpage, says officials are continuing to follow their plan.
"We don't think that there should be a concern because all of the contaminants are being addressed through well head treatment and we're also doing some mass removal of contamination," she says.
Parts of a popular community park were also shut down Wednesday in Bethpage over claims that drums possibly containing hazardous materials were buried there years ago.
Town Supervisor John Venditto ordered that the playground and tennis courts at Bethpage Community Park be closed as a precautionary measure.
As News 12 recently reported, a potential whistleblower told officials that buried drums were found while he was working on a project at the park in the 1990s. He says that workers didn't remove them, but covered them up instead.
Officials say there is no reason to believe it's not safe and that they are just being extra cautious.
Officials say some crushed drums were found and removed when the majority of the park was excavated and remediated in 2005.
They say the area where the tennis courts are now was not part of that remediation, and add that it is unclear if all of the soil under the playground was removed then.
Marie Piper says it's just another thing to add to the list. For years, residents like her have also been worried about a growing toxic underground plume that threatens their groundwater. The contamination stems from the nearby site of the former Grumman plant, where Navy fighter jets were built.
"Growing up here, we've all known about it forever,” she says. “We all know what Grumman did here."
It's unclear how long the park will remain closed.