Grumman's Toxic Legacy Coming Into Focus

A hearing this week will outline what needs to be done to protect the water supply from a decades-old problem.

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?

Take our poll and sound off in the comments.

TheGreek July 17, 2012 at 12:38 PM
How could they let this fester for decades without doing anything? That kind of "kick the can down the road" attitude is abhorent when it concerns our water supply. I remember watching them drill test wells all around the Bethpage train station 20 years ago. Can't believe that nothing has been done yet.
Joe Dowd (Editor) July 17, 2012 at 08:41 PM
It seems as if there are so many of these that it makes you wonder which should become the priority. Thanks, Greek. I'd like some opinions from others around the area on this subject.
Bethpage July 18, 2012 at 12:32 AM
After a bladder cancer diagnosis (caused by VOC-volatile organic compounds), I had to have my ground and basement checked for contamination (done by the Naval Dept.). I would like to have gotten a second opinion, but cannot afford the testing fees. I don't trust the findings at all. I work from home in my basement 8 hrs. per day for the last 16 years and live an extremely healthy life style. No rhyme or reason for my diagnosis....just makes me wonder.
unknownauthor April 16, 2013 at 04:14 PM
I had my water and soil independently tested and both came clear.


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