Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino announced that environmental remediation of the long-shuttered contaminated ballfield at Bethpage Community Park is underway, with thermal equipment now operational. The work is being conducted by the Northrop Grumman Corporation under the oversight by the Town, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Department of Health (DOH).
“Bethpage ballfield has been closed to the public for too many years. We pushed Grumman to make remediation a priority and this environmental cleanup is now underway as equipment is operational,” said Supervisor Saladino. “While the thermal equipment will take some time to treat the contamination, we will ensure that this property is cleaned to the highest standard so that it can be returned to the residents of Bethpage as an active ballfield once again.”
Following extensive planning and testing, Northrop Grumman is remediating two types of contamination under the ballfield. To do so, a wellfield was installed to heat the soil and create a vacuum to capture gases released as the soil is heated. Over the summer of 2020, Grumman installed all remaining components of the treatment system, including process piping, heaters, electrical connections and treatment equipment to support the start-up and operation of the treatment system. These remedial systems are located on the adjacent Grumman-owned property behind the ballfield. A cover over the wellfield site was installed to ensure no soil vapors are released into the air. Continuous air monitoring is being conducted to ensure community safety. Once the target soil temperature has been reached, this new system – the largest thermal remediation project in all of New York State – will operate for approximately six months.
Once thermal treatment is complete, the treated soil will be resampled and analyzed, as well as again reviewed by DEC and DOH. The project will then enter Phase III, anticipated for some time after mid-2021. Phase III consists of the physical removal of specific soils which have been found to contain contaminants such as metals and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). This process, which is expected to take six to nine months to complete, was also reviewed and approved by the DOH and DEC, who will continue to conduct analysis as the project progresses.
Bethpage Community Park was closed to the public in 2002 when elevated levels of soil contamination were first discovered. Sections reopened following extensive testing, and in 2006 the park underwent a significant remediation project. The ballfield, however, remained closed as contamination levels reached far below ground and the cleanup required for full remediation was exorbitant. Once this new system is started, it is expected to take 9-12 months to complete the targeted cleanup of the deeper soils at the ballfield. This will be measured through soil sampling, and once achieved the system will be removed, allowing for Phase III of the project to get underway, which includes excavation of contaminated soil at the property.