‘Environmental nightmare’ in Bethpage as multiple 55-gallon chemical drums unearthed in park

A spokesperson for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation stated, “The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) continues to strictly oversee the cleanup of the Bethpage Community Park in the town of Oyster Bay."

Cecilia Dowd

Apr 4, 2024, 2:37 AM

Updated 14 days ago

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Six 55-gallon chemical drums were found underground at Bethpage Community Park, according to Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino. The supervisor expressed frustration at the progress of the cleanup at the former Grumman site, referring to this as an “environmental nightmare.” He said the drums were seven feet below the ground and “we have to presume” there will be more found at the park.
A spokesperson for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation stated, “The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) continues to strictly oversee the cleanup of the Bethpage Community Park in the town of Oyster Bay. The ongoing remediation of the Navy-Grumman groundwater plume is a priority for DEC and New York State. During the investigation of historic contamination in the park, contractors working for Northrop Grumman at DEC’s direction discovered encased drums buried in a cement vault. The drums show no visual signs of a release of contamination to the environment. Preliminary analysis of the drums’ contents found chlorinated solvents and waste oil/petroleum. These compounds are consistent with known historic operations of Northrop-Grumman and the U.S. Navy at this location and the contamination that is the focus of the ongoing remedial action.
DEC will continue to oversee cleanup activities at this location, including use of geophysical techniques, such as ground-penetrating radar, as well as subsurface drilling and sampling to determine the full nature and extent of contamination and the presence of any additional drums buried deep beneath the site. The discovery of the drums presents no immediate threat to public health and safety at the site. DEC will update the town and community regarding confirmatory samples taken around the encased drums as information becomes available.
DEC will continue to hold Northrop Grumman accountable for the cleanup of Bethpage Community Park.”
Northrup Grumman is also responding to the issue. A spokesperson wrote, “While conducting environmental remediation in the Bethpage Community Park under the supervision of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), we discovered several drums encased in concrete underground in a closed area of the Park.
We promptly notified NYSDEC and other relevant stakeholders and we are working with NYSDEC to assess and address this situation as quickly as possible. We remain committed to protecting the health and well-being of the community and to continuing our partnership with NYSDEC and other government regulators to address environmental conditions in the area.”


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