Bethpage Water District Blog

Thursday, March 24, 2016

District: Northrop Grumman Responsible for Radium

Affected Well Never Supplied Drinking Water to Residents

The Bethpage Water District Board of Commissioners proactively discontinued a well from production at the Sophia Street facility. Well 4-1 was removed from service more than three years ago when it is believed the Northrop Grumman plume caused an elevated radium concentration. The well was taken offline to ensure the safety of our residents, and water from the well was not delivered to residents as drinking water. Instead, the District continued to run the well to waste to sample and track the radium levels on a monthly basis over the past 36 months. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is demanding Northrop Grumman allow access to monitoring wells tracking the plume and conduct a comprehensive investigation into its past practices where radium may have been used in manufacturing.   

 “We are grateful the DEC is taking action on this matter as Northrop Grumman continues to neglect the well-being of a community that was instrumental in its success,” said Board of Commissioner’s Chairman William J. Ellinger. “Residents should rest assured we immediately shut down the affected well to safeguard the health and safety of our neighbors.”

 Radium is a naturally occurring element found in granite, soil and most living things. The District routinely tests its water supply at a frequency far greater than what is required by local, state and federal health departments for regulated contaminants such as radium in addition to specific unregulated substances. The results from all other well sites consistently meet all of the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for naturally occurring levels of radium.

 “We believe the contamination caused by past Northrop Grumman Corporation activities led to the increased radium levels at our 4-1 well,” said Commissioner John F. Coumatos. “In Northrop Grumman’s absence, the District once again took preventative matters to guarantee the water quality delivered to residents, and the health and safety of our community was never threatened or compromised.”

 The state and federal standard for radium in treated drinking water is five (5) picocuries per liter averaged over four (4) rolling quarters. The District’s 4-1 well on Sophia Street in Bethpage, NY exhibited an average level of 5.08 picocuries per liter in 2015. The second well at the site, well 4-2, continues to exhibit radium levels well under the local, state and federal allowance.

 “Water from well 4-1is not being delivered as drinking water to our community,” said Commissioner John R. Sullivan. “We continue to do our part to keep our neighbors safe. This is yet another example of Northrop Grumman putting profits before Bethpage residents. Our community deserves better, and we will not stop advocating on its behalf.” 

 The Bethpage Water District continues to be proactive and diligent in our duty to provide the safest and highest quality water possible.  For more information, please contact the Bethpage Water District at 516-931-0093, visit or the District’s Facebook page at

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