Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Karnig Ohannessian, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Environment & Mission Readiness), announced today that Northrop Grumman has agreed to pay the United States $35 million for environmental cleanup costs incurred as a result of operations at the former Naval Weapon Industrial Reserve Plant (NWIRP) in Bethpage, New York, and adjacent facilities (Sites). The payment resolves a civil lawsuit brought by the United States against Northrop Grumman under the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).
“This settlement compensates the United States for some of the enormous costs it has expended in connection with the cleanup of the former Naval Weapon Industrial Reserve Plant in Bethpage,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “The government’s remediation at the site restores natural resources, including land and groundwater in the area, and ensures public health and safety.”
A Consent Judgment setting forth the terms of the settlement provides that Northrop Grumman and the Navy will continue their respective remedial actions associated with the Sites and coordinate their cleanup efforts to benefit the public.
The proposed Consent Judgment will be lodged with the District Court for a period of at least 30 days, and notice of the Consent Judgment will be published in the Federal Register. This will afford members of the public the opportunity to submit comments on the Consent Judgment to the Department of Justice prior to it seeking court approval of the settlement.
The NWIRP was a government-owned, contractor-operated facility where Northrop Grumman’s predecessors (collectively “Grumman”) designed and manufactured aircraft for the Navy. Grumman also owned the adjacent approximately 500-acre former Northrop Grumman Bethpage Facility Site, which included an 18-acre property, now part of the Bethpage Community Park. Grumman used the Sites for industrial and research purposes from the late 1930s through1996. Manufacturing and disposal practices at the Sites resulted in contamination of the soil and groundwater with hazardous substances, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and metals.
The Navy began conducting investigations and assessments at the NWIRP in 1986, and the cleanup is ongoing. The Navy continues to implement its remedial actions, including for treatment of contaminated groundwater.
The Navy’s remediation efforts include:
- Remediation of contaminated soils and shallow groundwater at the NWIRP through soil excavation, use of a vapor extraction system to remove TCE contamination from the soil, and placement of soil covers and land use controls;
- Design, implementation, operation and maintenance of onsite groundwater extraction wells and treatment systems to capture and treat VOCs before they migrate off property;
- Off-property groundwater capture and treatment of hotspots to reduce contaminant mass in the plume and limit downgradient migration;
- Additional treatment wells to intercept, as practicable, the southern extent of the site-related groundwater plumes;
- Installation of groundwater monitoring wells and long-term monitoring;
- Investigation and remediation of site-related 1-4 dioxane in the groundwater;
- Development and implementation of a public water supply protection program.
In addition to the costs associated with such Navy cleanup activities, since 2010, the United States has incurred costs under several consent judgments with local water districts whose water supply wells are potentially affected by the plumes to ensure their continued provision of safe drinking water.
The case was handled by Assistant United States Attorneys Kathleen Mahoney and Matthew Silverman from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, and by Richard Green, Assistant Director for Affirmative Environmental Claims, Office of General Counsel, Naval Litigation Office, Department of the Navy.
Additional information concerning the Navy’s cleanup and site-related public engagement activities can be found online at: http://go.usa.gov/DyXF. The Navy also maintains a public repository of site-related materials at the Bethpage Public Library, 47 Powell Avenue, Bethpage, New York 11714, (516) 931-3907.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 22-CV-2101