Hempstead Suing Navy And Northrop Grumman Over Toxic Plume Clean-Up

Jul 7, 2016

A model of a fighter jet outside former Grumman Corp. plant in Bethpage, N.Y. Grumman, now known as Northrop Grumman, manufactured aircraft used during the Cold War and also made the Lunar Module that landed men on the moon in 1969. Officials have been working for years to clean up a plume of contaminated water emanating from the Long Island facility.
Credit Frank Eltman / AP

The town of Hempstead on Long Island has filed a $50 million federal lawsuit against the U.S. Navy, Northrop Grumman and others over the cleanup of groundwater contaminated by the Bethpage plume.

Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino says the chemical freon and the degreaser trichloroethelyne were found in two wells in the town-operated Levittown Water District in 2013.

Santino says the town has already spent $8 million to remediate the wells.

“This lawsuit will go a long way to really establish the equity that we’re looking for, that middle class taxpayers and ratepayers shouldn’t pay for the mistakes of major corporations and the federal government.”

Grumman and the Navy manufactured airplanes from the 1940s into the 1980s at the Bethpage plant.

The Navy did not respond to a request for comment. In a written statement, Northrop Grumman said while it couldn’t comment on pending litigation, the company continues to work to address legacy environmental issues in the Bethpage area.