BETHPAGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Many residents are being asked to foot the bill for the government’s dumping of toxic waste into the Long Island soil. And to make matters worse, the contamination is on the move.
It’s bad enough to have to worry about living above a toxic plume of water, now folks in Bethpage have to also foot the clean-up bill, CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday.
“Everything trickling down to me and it’s not a mess that I made,” resident Ryan Clampfer said.
The Clampfers, like other Bethpage residents, are being billed $100 more per year by their water district.
“Can we rely that were going to be reimbursed or is it going to be on the backs of the citizens?” Elaine Clampfer said.
They’re paying an elaborate aeration process to ensure Bethpage drinking water is safe. The U.S. Navy, which began building fighter jets herein the 1930s, admits it dumped toxins. The result has been two plumes that have made their way into five of Bethpage’s eight wells. The clean-up will cost taxpayers $30 million.
Senator Charles Schumer said he is urging the Navy to pay for its own mess.
“You clean it up. You made the mess. Now you have to clean it up,” Sen. Schumer said.
The cost of the contamination is not only a concern for folks in Bethpage; the underground plume is spreading and as it does the drinking supply of a quarter million Long Island residents could be at risk.
The plume of carcinogens is now threatening 20 additional wells in Massapequa, South Farmingdale and Wantagh.
More communities could face the same costly clean up. Bethpage Water is monitored 1,000 times per year and has been deemed safe.
“The water is 100 percent safe to drink,” environmental consultant Rich Humann said.
But at what cost to people who say they’ve already paid enough?
The Navy’s dumping was — at the time – legal. There has been no comment from the Navy on paying Bethpage residents back.
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