For decades, the Grumman name was associated with the best aircraft products and finest engineers in the world.
From their legendary like the fighter "F6F Hellcat" and the dive bomber "TBF Avenger" the Cold War's "F-14 Tomcat," and the lunar landing vehicle that put men on the moon in 1969 - the LEM - Grumman's contributions are staggering.
But the company's Bethpage plant, finally shuttered in 1996, left something else behind.
A toxic plume of waste water is moving southward beneath the surface, threatening to contaminate the drinking water of communities all along the South Shore of Long Island. Plainview is not directly impacted, but our neighbors in Massapequa, Levittown and others are in the path, a route that could ultimately end up in Great South Bay.
One of the contaminated plumes was discovered 22 years ago. It dates to toxic wastes dumped at the site in the 1950s.
Now, the state is monitoring the plume and plans at the to discuss the issue with the public.
Grumman is merely one of hundreds of former manufacturers whose actions long ago are having consequences now. (The Liberty Aircraft Products plant in Farmingdale and its ongoing impact on the Massapequa Watershed and is a prime example.)
Grumman's toxic legacy should not outweigh its people ingenuity or their historic contributions, but what should be done?
What the best way to protect the water supply? What will it cost and who will have to pay, ultimately.
Can we afford to do little or nothing?
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