SCHUMER MANDATE IN JUST-PASSED WRDA LAW GIVES NAVY 6 MONTHS TO SUBMIT OFFICIAL GROUNDWATER CONTAMINATION REPORT ON BETHPAGE PLUME; PUBLIC REPORT WILL HELP UNMASK CONTAMINATION SO CLEAN UP IS BETTER TARGETED, MORE TIMELY & TRANSPARENT
For Far Too Long, Nassau Residents Endured Unanswered Questions About Grumman/Navy Contamination; Foot-Dragging & Finger-Pointing Have Made Matters Worse & Frustrated Locals
New Schumer Law That Just Passed Full Congress Will Now Help Detail The Plume Like Never Before; Goal Is To Clean It—All Of It—Up
Schumer: Detailed Report on Toxic Bethpage Plume Is Now Required Homework for Navy and Grumman
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer announced today that language he authored – that requires a detailed report on the toxic Bethpage plume – just passed the full U.S. Congress as part of the 2016 Water Resource and Development Act (WRDA). Schumer’s language gives the U.S. Navy six months to deliver a Bethpage Plume report to Congress. Schumer, today, said once and for all the contaminants of the Bethpage Plume will be better detailed for all to see, with the goal of containing spread and cleaning up what has already occurred.
“When it comes to the toxic Bethpage Plume, which creeps along threatening to contaminate vital drinking water supplies in community after community, too many Long Islanders have been kept in the dark for far too long,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.“Now, thanks to language I authored and shepherded to passage via the WRDA bill, Navy and Grumman have a new homework assignment: they have six months to publish a detailed report on the plume that answers our questions, and I look forward to those findings because we want Bethpage cleaned up and the polluters held accountable.”
Schumer added, “This public report will help unmask contamination so that the Bethpage cleanup is better targeted, more timely and more transparent.”
Schumer’s Bethpage Plume law mandates that no later than 180 days after WRDA becomes law, and then annually for the next 4 years, the Navy will submit a report to Congress on the groundwater contamination at the Bethpage Plume Site. The report will include a description of the status of contaminants that are leaving the site and migrating to locations within a 10-mile radius of the site, a detailed mapping of the movement of the plume over time, an analysis of the current and future impacts of the movement of the plume on drinking water facilities, and a comprehensive strategy to prevent the groundwater toxins from contaminating drinking water wells that have not yet been affected by the plume.
The U.S. Navy operated a Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve in Bethpage for many years, beginning in the late 1930s, which has resulted in at least 2 plumes containing chemicals classified as carcinogens. Since 1976, when contamination concerns were first identified, the plume has spread and is currently threatening over 20 additional public drinking wells that serve over 250,000 Nassau County residents in Bethpage, Levittown, Massapequa, South Farmingdale and Wantagh.
There are at least two plumes currently within the Bethpage community, and contaminants were detected in five of the eight wells operated by Bethpage Water District. The first plume originates from the Grumman Aerospace Corporation and Navy manufacturing facilities, and the smaller plume is associated with the Bethpage Community Park where Grumman and the Navy disposed of wastes. The Bethpage Water District currently has 8,800 customers.
New hot spots have been discovered between Bethpage Water District Plant 6 and the GM 75 hotspot. Elevated levels of a potential carcinogen, trichloroethylene (TCE), were found in the groundwater 1,700 feet away from a Bethpage drinking water well. TCE is an industrial solvent and was used at the former defense plant in Bethpage, which was operated by Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy.
Schumer’s win today follows other actions by him that have sought to protect Nassau groundwater and retrieve environmental answers that hold polluters accountable, better positioning the entire Bethpage site for cleanup.