Navy meeting gives update on Bethpage toxic plume cleanup

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The U.S. Navy held its 41st Restoration Advisory Board meeting Wednesday evening to give the public an update on its efforts to clean up the toxic plume in Bethpage.

Local officials have routinely called on Northrop Grumman and the Navy to contain the contaminated underground plume that sits below Bethpage. They say it's the result of toxic dumping that took place on the former Grumman site as military production ramped up during World War II.

The Navy has installed a series of monitoring wells throughout the Bethpage area and says there are plans to extract underground water from a pair of so-called hot spots.

"We need to continue to do the testing," says the Navy's Laura Fly. "As you saw in the presentation, we track the plume and that will help us determine if we need to work with the water districts to put treatments on their plants."

The Navy also acknowledged that the plume continues to migrate south. Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joe Saladino expressed frustration with a remediation process that has dragged on for decades yet is still not complete.

"You saw a lot of testing wells, and we know there is a need for testing, but we've got to switch this project from a testing and watch project to a full remediation project," Saladino said to applause.

Wednesday's meeting was one of two held each year by the Navy. The next one will be on Dec. 12, also at the Bethpage Community Center.

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