DEC takes questions regarding chemical drums found at Bethpage park

Bethpage residents tell News 12 they have been waiting 20 years for action and are frustrated with Northrop Grumman.

Thema Ponton

Jun 12, 2024, 2:49 AM

Updated 33 days ago


The state Department of Environmental Conservation is taking questions from residents about the chemical drums found in Bethpage Community Park.
It's linked to Northrop Grumman's past work in the area.
About two dozen people attended the meeting at the Bethpage Public Library on Tuesday. It was organized by the Bethpage Community Council.
Some of the questions from residents included, what was the lab issue that delayed the results of the testing? What's in the drums? Is the park safe? Are the drums leaking?
Jason Pelton with the NYS DEC said, "All the evidence suggests… based on our inspection of the drums - that they did not leak, and even if they did leak, we've got safety measures at the margins of the park so that any contaminants would never leave the park."
The NYS DEC maintains there is no threat to the public because of those drums.
Bethpage residents tell News 12 they have been waiting 20 years for action and are frustrated with Northrop Grumman.
Longtime residents Tom and Debbi said they don't think the company is taking responsibility or being held accountable for burying the chemical drums and potentially endangering everyone's health and safety.
"It seems like it's worse than what we were even led to believe, maybe," said Debbie.
Tom said, "They need to step up and finally take care of this now."
This is the latest information on Tuesday from the NYS DEC about the cleanup efforts at Bethpage Community Park: This week, Northrop Grumman expects to finalize waste characterization reports necessary for the transportation of excavated soil off-site for disposal at licensed facilities. DEC is reviewing a work plan prepared by Northrop Grumman’s contractor as preparations are made to begin a comprehensive geophysical investigation of the former Grumman settling ponds area. The geophysical investigation will include a full re-survey of the ballfield area, as well as the remainder of Bethpage Community Park.
DEC, Northrop Grumman, and the town of Oyster Bay have discussed a pilot test the geophysical contractor will conduct to ensure that new equipment being used will effectively identify any potential additional buried drums not previously discovered. To advance the pilot test last week, Northrop Grumman’s environmental contractor buried two drums (one horizontal, one vertical) and a previously excavated concrete ring eight to 10 feet below ground. During the pilot test, the new geophysical contractor will evaluate their equipment using these buried objects.
In addition, DEC compiled a preliminary data summary for the remaining six concrete-encased drums found at the former Grumman settling ponds area. As with the initial 16 drums, results show that the type and level of contamination in the drums’ contents are consistent with historic contamination at the park, and there is no public exposure to the remaining historic soil and groundwater contamination. Specifically, results from drum samples show various petroleum hydrocarbons (benzene, trimethylbenzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, etc.), various metals such as chromium and cadmium, etc., PCBs, and chlorinated solvents (trichloroethene). These results are similar to and within the range of concentrations of contaminants identified during the remedial investigation and the contaminants detected in the drums are not unexpected, as the drums were found in the former sludge drying beds/former settling pond areas used by Northrop Grumman during its historical operations.
News 12 reached out to Northrop Grumman once again for comment, but has not heard back.

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