State officials: More chemical drums could be buried beneath Bethpage baseball field

As News 12 previously reported, how six chemical drums were found buried underneath the baseball field at Bethpage Community Park.

Jon Dowding

Apr 16, 2024, 2:02 AM

Updated 44 days ago

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State officials say more chemical drums could be buried underneath a Bethpage baseball field after crews removed three other chemical drums Monday.
As News 12 previously reported, how six chemical drums were found buried underneath the baseball field at Bethpage Community Park. The site was formerly a Grumman dumping ground, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Now, DEC officials believe six more chemical drums could be below the six chemical drums removed Monday by contractors for Northrop Grumman.
Sharon Cunningham says she was hesitant to bring her grandson to Bethpage Community Park Monday, especially when she arrived and saw crews working.
"I thought twice before I brought my grandson here today,” she said. “My older guys played ball over in that field."
She's lived in Bethpage for over two decades and still has concerns about what's in the ground and the water near the old Grumman sites.
"I don't do my vegetable garden anymore because I'm too afraid to plant,” she said. “What's going to come up?"
Contractors for Northrop Grumman removed the remaining three drums Monday. Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino says, unfortunately, there’s a lot more work to be done before people can fully enjoy the baseball fields.
"We're forcing [Grumman] to dig them up, remove these concrete vaults and drums, and keep searching the park for the more drums and contamination that we know they left behind,” he said.
After the discovery of possibly more structures underneath below the initial six chemical drums found two weeks ago, DEC officials say they're displeased at how Grumman has handled all of this.
Interim DEC Commissioner Sean Mahar says the agency is continuing to investigate Grumman’s actions.
"We are not happy with the pace of cleanup,” he said. “We're not happy with these new findings and we are going to use all of the powers in the state to make sure that this site is thoroughly investigated and that clean up actions are expedited so this park can get brought back to the town as quickly as possible."
The DEC is now trying to figure out exactly what they found, but it says it doesn't look like there's been a leak.
News 12 reached out to Northrup Grumman to ask them about the cleanup, but have not yet heard back.


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