Bethpage Water District Blog

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Bethpage Water District Files Lawsuit Against Northrop Grumman

Polluter Must Pay for Treatment and Clean-up of Plume

Bethpage, NY - The Bethpage Water District, represented by the law firm of Weitz and Luxenburg, P.C., announced that it has filed a formal lawsuit against Northrop Grumman Corporation in Federal Court.  The suit charges that the aerospace company caused “irreparable harm” to the aquifer, which is the source of the community’s drinking water supply, by creating a toxic plume that affects the groundwater.  The district is seeking damages to cover the cost of water treatment and the construction of new wells outside of the plume area.
“Northrop Grumman recklessly disregarded the health and welfare of the Bethpage community,” said William J. Ellinger, Chairman of the Bethpage Water District Board of Commissioners.  “We are left with no other choice.  Time and time again, Northrop Grumman has refused to do the right thing in assisting the residents of Bethpage in cleaning up a mess they created.  We must hold them accountable for what they did.”
The suit, which was filed on Monday, details the improper disposal of chemicals from 1949 through 1962 by then Grumman Aerospace while it operated facilities on approximately 600 acres in east-central Nassau County, formerly known as the Grumman Aerospace-Bethpage Facility Site.  Grumman’s carelessness resulted in hazardous substances being released into the groundwater, which are now contaminating the source of Bethpage’s water supply.  After contaminating the community’s groundwater, it closed its doors, leaving its mess and taking jobs elsewhere.
“The residents of Bethpage deserve better,” added Gary S. Bretton, secretary of the Bethpage Water District Board of Commissioners.  “For more than 20 years, the taxpayers have unfairly shouldered the burden.  If Northrop Grumman won’t do the right thing, then we will force them to do so.”

Despite the contamination of the source water, residents should know the finished water received at their homes is safe to drink.  State of the art treatment systems installed by the district treat and purify the groundwater before it is delivered to homes as drinking water. The Bethpage Water District has gone above and beyond New York State and Federal Government water quality standards in taking every possible measure to ensure the health and safety of its neighbors and residents.  Water quality testing is conducted by the district more than 10,000 times per year, ensuring that Bethpage’s drinking water supply is safe and exceeds the highest standards in the nation. But that is expensive and the polluter should pay for ensuring the past and future delivery of safe water to Bethpage residents.
“Northrop Grumman has refused to work with the District,” concluded John R. Sullivan, treasurer of the Bethpage Water District Board of Commissioners. “They have denied us access to test wells.  They have refused to pay for treatment.  They caused this problem and they should be held accountable for cleaning it up.”
Residents seeking more information on the lawsuit or the district’s treatment process can log on to, the District’s Facebook page at or on twitter at @BethpageW.

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