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For Release: Wednesday, September 22, 2021

DEC Announces Public Comment Period on Consent Decree to Advance Navy-Grumman Plume Cleanup Plan

Community Residents and Stakeholders Encouraged to Comment on Agreement with Northrop Grumman

Comments Accepted through Oct. 22, 2021

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the release for public comment of the proposed Consent Decree between DEC and Northrop Grumman. The proposal formalizes the agreement to clean up the groundwater plume associated with the Northrop Grumman Bethpage Facility and Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant sites in the town of Oyster Bay in Bethpage, Nassau County. The Consent Decree requires Northrop Grumman to drill and operate wells to contain and clean up the groundwater plume and pay more than $60 million to DEC and affected water districts. The proposed Consent Decree also further protects the water districts by providing for their ability to bring additional claims to collect damages from Northrup Grumman and the U.S. Navy. Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Navy have been undertaking actions memorialized in the proposed Consent Decree, announced in December 2020.

Commissioner Seggos said, "Today's announcement advances DEC's ongoing efforts to hold these polluters accountable, contain the Navy-Grumman plume, and help make this community whole. Since last year, the U.S. Navy and Northrup Grumman have undertaken mitigation measures detailed in the Consent Decree, expediting the cleanup of the plume, and providing additional protections to nearby public water supply wells. In addition, the responsible parties have agreed to carefully monitor these efforts to make sure the plume is contained and ensure the continued, long-term effectiveness of the State's cleanup plan."

As detailed in the proposed Consent Decree, Northrop Grumman will be installing a network of extraction wells strategically placed to hydraulically contain and remediate the eastern half of the groundwater plume that primarily originated from an area referred to as the Former Grumman Settling Ponds. Northrop Grumman also agreed to a Natural Resource Damages settlement totaling more than $100 million in cash payments and actions to advance clean up, water supply, and aquifer protection projects in the area associated with the plume.

Last December, Northrop Grumman committed to expediting certain work in advance of the finalization of the Consent Decree. DEC approved Grumman's initial work plan in July, including pre-design investigation, and plans for drilling vertical profile borings and installing monitoring wells to support the implementation of containment wells in the east-central portion of the plume. Work to install these wells will begin this fall. Northrop Grumman is currently installing underground conveyance piping and started site preparation for construction of a water treatment plant, as agreed to in a prior commitment to remediate the site.

In addition, the U.S. Navy, after negotiations with DEC, will implement elements of the comprehensive remedy in areas of the plume it is responsible for cleaning up. These actions are specifically designed to address the western half of the Navy-Grumman groundwater plume. The U.S. Navy will perform its obligations in accordance with an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), which was released for public review and comment in March 2021.

In April 2021, the U.S. Navy began work to install recovery wells at four locations along the leading edge of the plume and two recovery wells in the plume's interior. To further expedite cleanup of this area, the Navy is seeking access from Nassau County and designing an interim groundwater extraction system utilizing an existing recovery well. DEC approved the plan to design and construct this interim groundwater extraction and treatment system earlier this year, and the system is expected to be operating later in 2021.

DEC encourages the public to review and comment on the Consent Decree -- available on DEC's website. The public can submit comments by mail to Andrew Guglielmi, Office of General Counsel, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233, or by email to andrew.guglielmi@dec.ny.gov. DEC is accepting comments until Oct. 22, 2021.

New York State has made protecting drinking water a top priority, appropriating $4 billion in clean water. Because Long Island relies on its sole source aquifer, the region has been a focus of the State's efforts, including more than $800 million in state and federal funds to repair and fortify the Bay Park wastewater treatment plant, in addition to diverting Bay Park sewage from the Western Bays to the Cedar Creek outfall, more than $10 million to restore shellfish once common to Long Island's waters in order to improve water quality, and a $6 million Long Island Groundwater Study, among other efforts.

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