Meeting held over next steps for cleanup at Bethpage Community Park

Members of the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Environmental Conservation, the Navy and Northrop Grumman were at the meeting, which News 12 was not allowed into.

Jon Dowding

May 3, 2024, 10:22 PM

Updated 17 days ago


A closed door meeting over the cleanup at Bethpage Community Park took place Friday afternoon.
News 12 is told by sources who were allowed in the meeting that it was a promising first step to fully clean up and eventually reopen the park.
As News 12 has reported, the meeting followed the discovery of 16 chemical drums at the park in April. Ground-penetrating radar detected two other anomalies there on Monday.
Members of the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Environmental Conservation, the Navy, Northrop Grumman and several other agencies were at the meeting, which News 12 was not allowed into.
Rep. Tom Suozzi says the purpose of the meeting was to get all parties involved in the cleanup on the same page and timeline. He said the discussion focused on two main concerns.
"One is the area where the drums were found, the park and the contamination that's located at that park. And two is the migration of the plume,” he said.
Their meeting comes a day after Bethpage residents held a rally calling on officials to expedite the cleanup of the park. Neighbors and business owners like Donald Schiavetta say they also have questions for Northrop Grumman.
"Why are we playing hide and seek? Somebody knows where these have been dug,” said Schiavetta. “They're encased in cement vaults, I think someone should know where they are and we should clean this all up."
Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said he and other local leaders are trying to hold Northrop Grumman accountable.
"We are forcing Grumman to meet deadlines. Something that's never been done before. Something that our residents can feel more relieved [about it]," he said.
Citizens Campaign for the Environment Executive Director Adrienne Esposito said, "The public needs to trust the process and today was about adding trust to that process,” she said. “I'm very happy with the outcome today."
A statement from a Northrop Grumman spokesperson said, "Northrop Grumman remains committed to working with all stakeholders to provide scientifically-sound remediation efforts that continue to protect the health of the community and the environment. Northrop Grumman has partnered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), the United States Navy, and other federal, state, and local regulatory authorities for over 25 years to develop and implement scientifically-sound strategies to remediate groundwater deep below Bethpage."
Statement from NYSDEC Deputy Commissioner for Remediation and Materials Management Patrick Foster: "DEC is grateful to Congressman Suozzi, the town of Bethpage, and the many local leaders participating in today’s productive discussion about New York State’s oversight of the investigation and cleanup efforts at Bethpage Community Park, as well as the State’s ongoing efforts to contain the Navy-Grumman plume. DEC continues to hold polluters accountable for cleaning up legacy contamination in Bethpage. We look forward to continuing to work with this community to ensure an effective and lasting cleanup that fully restores the park for area residents to safely enjoy."

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