Officials Believe Radium Is Coming From Nearby Northrop Grumman Property

BETHPAGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Bethpage Water District has shut down one of its drinking supply wells after elevated levels of the known carcinogen radium and radon were detected. A second water well has also been shut down as a precaution.

Water District Superintendent Michael Boufis said the levels are not considered hazardous and do not exceed federal or state standards.

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“The water is absolutely safe to drink,” Boufis said. “This has been our normal protocol for years, if we find a contamination we take the wells out of service.”

According to radium and radon testing, Boufis believes the radium and radon is coming from the nearby Northrop Grumman property and are seeking permission from the Navy to conduct tests.

“If you ask Northrop Grumman they don’t have any knowledge of them ever using radium, but anyone who’s been around for a long time knows that site was kind of locked down and nobody really knows what went on there,” Boufis said.

Some residents were not surprised by the discovery.

Maryann Remsen said her sister died of cancer and her husband is going through a second round of cancer treatment in less than a year.

Bethpage Water District officials at Nitrate Plant 1 (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

Bethpage Water District officials at Nitrate Plant 1 (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

“We knew that there was always something in the area,” Remsen told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall. “I’m glad that the study has brought it out.”

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Although officials claim the water is safe to drink, residents are skeptical about using their tap water.

“I don’t know, maybe I’ll revert to wine,” resident Guido Lari said.

“You cook with it, you clean with it, you drink it, you really can’t get away with it,” one woman said. “I got a Poland Spring water dispenser to help eliminate the amount of use in some way in my home because I started to get nervous.”

Millions have already been spent in Bethpage to treat groundwater contamination stemming from manufacturing plants, Hall reported.

The district has six other drinking supply wells.

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