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More chemical drums found buried in Long Island park

More toxic chemical drums found buried on Long Island
More toxic chemical drums found buried on Long Island 02:19

BETHPAGE, N.Y. -- For the second time this month, more toxic chemical drums have been pulled out from under the ground on Long Island, and neighbors are fed up.

What is now a Bethpage park in Nassau County was once Grumman Aerospace, and residents are frustrated at the pace of water and soil cleanup.

"I'm not the only one. This is an area with a lot of cancer and a lot of heartache," said Bethpage homeowner and cancer patient Pamela Carlucci.

Carlucci and many of her Bethpage neighbors were born and raised in the shadow of the Grumman plant, and they blame their poor health on the toxic waste dumping there from 1940-90.

"We were a crowd of 24. I would say 15 to 18 of us have died or have very bad cancer," Carlucci said.

The link is unproven, says Northrop Grumman, but the company in a statement said it is committed to protecting the health of the community and the environment.

Additional 55-gallon drums containing waste petroleum and chlorinated solvents are being removed from Bethpage Community Park, where aerospace sludge settling pools were once located.

The Department of Environmental Conservation says they were not leaking.

"We want Grumman to search the entire park, find where the remaining drums are, excavate them and then remove the toxic soil and truck it off Long Island," Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino said.

Northrop  Grumman and the United States Navy are paying for the migrating plume cleanup. Mike Boufis, superintendent of the Bethpage Water District, calls it a race against time.

"This treatment facility ... was built because of the plume. In the last 12 years, we have spent a little over $60 million just to treat contaminants in the water," he said.

Twenty-six years after the cleanup efforts first started, experts tell us the plume of contamination is moving south at the rate of about a foot a day.

"When I was younger, I mean, we used to all run around and drink from the hose," Bethpage resident Debby Collins said.

Debby and John Collins have gone to too many funerals, they say, including her parents, lost to cancer.

"What is the plan to correct what's going on?" John Collins said.

"All I know is, I'm not going to be here to see this to the end," Carlucci said.

Experts say it's unclear just how quickly the plume can be contained before it threatens the Great South Bay, where it will impact marine life.

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