The Concerned Citizens Association of Farmingdale (CCAF) held its monthly meeting at the Allen Park Community Center on Thursday night, Nov. 16. The South Farmingdale Water District (SFWD) had its three commissioners, superintendent and business manager on hand to discuss a variety of topics.
The SFWD covers 5.5 square miles in the district and 44,700 customers in South Farmingdale, North Massapequa, and parts of Bethpage, Seaford, Massapequa Park and East Massapequa.
South Farmingdale Water District Chairman John Hirt speaks as district representatives and CCAF members look on. Photo by Ryan Mulholland.
The SFWD offered an update on the Liberty Site lawsuit, quality of drinking water report and sought feedback on the potential threat of the Northrop Grumman plume on South Farmingdale water wells. The SFWD filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in relation to the Liberty Site.
With approximately 15 CCAF members present, Gary Loeseh, consulting engineer for SFWD and executive vice president of the H2M Group, began a lengthy presentation about the quality of the drinking water, with the bottom line being it is safe and healthy.
"There are more tests done on this water than on any drinking water you can buy," Loeseh said. "You can get 1,000 gallons of our water at a rate of $1.25 which is the same price as you would get for your normal 16-ounce Poland Spring."
He also suggested refrigerating water overnight and in the morning it will lose any of that chlorine taste that it might have. The SFWD also provided plenty of water bottles for all attendees to take home with them.
The more comprehensive portion of the presentation had to do with the two groundwater plumes originating at the Grumman-Bethpage Navy site and at the Liberty Industrial Finishing Site. SFWD representatives said the plume at the Grumman Site will affect three or four out of the 11 wells in the district.
The capital cost of the 12,100-foot long, 9,600-foot wide and 580-foot deep plume will be $8.3 million and SFWD is looking for the Navy to pick up that cost so that it is not a burden to taxpayers. Negotiations are ongoing in that respect. However, it's not anticipated that the plume will have any impact until about 2009 for Plant 3, and not for two to three decades for Plant 1.
The second plume originates at the Liberty Industrial Finishing Site. The Liberty Site is a 14.3 acre piece of land, bordering Allen Park that has been ordered numerous times by the EPA since 1999 to be cleansed of contaminants. In September the SFWD filed a lawsuit against the EPA seeking reimbursement for the costs of that work. They contend the federal government operated and polluted on the site.
Now, they are far behind on the complete cleanup of the Liberty Site.
"Every date they have given us over the past couple years has been at least six to eight months off," CCAF President Mike Grello said. "We need to make sure that the EPA puts pressure on the PRPs [Potentially Responsible Parties] to do what has to be done to fix the Liberty Site. There were supposed to be monthly progress reports from the EPA to the PRPs, but that has not happened since June."
Grello urges all residents with a vested interest in the community and in the Liberty Site to help out in order to quicken the process. CCAF member and community activist Chuck Gosline was on hand and said, "We hope to have a presentation on alternative use of the Liberty Site by January." However the cleanup needs to be finished for that to occur. Some possible suggested uses include a community center or next-generation housing.
Grello is urging participation in the CCAF to help resolve these issues more rapidly.
"We need more than 15 people to be here," he said. "In the past we have solved problems such as gangs and graffiti. We have to realize if we all step up then we can get something done."
The CCAF holds its meetings on the third Thursday of each month. For more information on the CCAF log on to www.ccaf-civic.org.