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More Toxic Chemical Drums Found in Bethpage

By Chris O’Neill


Oyster Bay Supervisor Joe Saladino is demanding decisive action to remove more newly-discovered toxic waste barrels buried under a children’s playground in Bethpage.

The NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently announced that the chemical drums found earlier this year at Bethpage Community Park contain substances that are cancer-causing.


The DEC stated that tests revealed the presence of petroleum hydrocarbons (benzene, trimethylbenzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene) and various metals such as chromium, cadmium, mercury, arsenic, and lead. The barrels also contain  polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and chlorinated solvents (trichloroethene).


The 18 acre area that later became Bethpage Community Park was once used a dumping ground by Northrup Grumman for toxic chemicals and other industrial waste from its manufacturing facilities.


In 1962 Grumman gifted the land to Oyster Bay under the condition that it would be used a park. Investigations later revealed the land’s contamination.


In 2002 the park was closed to the public, and in 2006 the park underwent a $20 million remediation project funded by the taxpayers of Oyster Bay.


A whistleblower in 2016 said there could be drums buried underground in the park. It was not until the last week of May this year that the DEC located the chemical-filled drums.  Oyster Bay officials are outraged - claiming that the state DEC did not take the whistleblower seriously.


"Grumman left over 880 gallons of toxic chemicals under the feet of park visitors despite knowing the cancer-causing contents," stated Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino. "These known carcinogens will continue to work their way into the aquifer system unless Grumman and the NYS DEC wake up and remove them from the park now."


Saladino wants the contaminated soil to be excavated and trucked off of Long Island.


The Town of Oyster Bay filed a lawsuit against Grumman in September,  to get Grumman to start the long-stalled clean up of the park. It marked the town's second lawsuit against Grumman.


Northrop Grumman is presently back-filling previously-excavated areas and will prepare waste description reports for the purpose of transporting the excavated soil.


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