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Source: North Shore Sun

Testing of radioactive groundwater plume in Yaphank to conclude next week


Posted: June 2, 2011
Originally Published: June 1, 2011

A DEC Task Force is expected to finish testing next week on an unexplained radioactive groundwater contamination plume found in Yaphank.

According to a press release issued by Citizens Campaign for the Environment, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services and the DEC have been collecting samples since 2010 from the Long Island Compost facility located on Horseblock Road, where soil and groundwater samples have tested positive for radiation.

The testing is expected to be completed by Monday.

CCE executive director Adrienne Esposito said she believes it is “imperative” that the investigation continue in an “expedited manner.”

“We need to get clear answers on what caused the radioactive plume and how can we prevent this in the future,” she said. “It is also imperative that this investigation be conducted in a transparent manner.”

Last year, the county’s health department and the DEC began collecting samples from the Long Island Compost facility, in which soil and groundwater samples tested positive for radiation, Ms. Esposito said.

The investigation to find the source of the radiological contamination, which Ms. Esposito said is being referred to as the “Horseblock Road Investigation,” involves testing the area’s shallow aquifer.

The DEC task force was formed in April after Citizens Campaign for the Environment filed a Freedom of Information Request to obtain information about the plume, she said. The task force also includes representatives from the New York State Department of Health and Brookhaven National Laboratory.

“Protecting groundwater should be given the highest priority by all the agencies involved,” Ms. Esposito said.

In a statement, Long Island Compost president and CEO Charles Vigliotti said the facility, which recycles more than half of Long Island’s organic yard waste, is in compliance with DEC regulations and is cooperating with the investigation.

“We were only recently informed of this issue, but we will work with all regulatory agencies to determine the proper course of action,” he said.