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CCE PRESS CENTER

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release:
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
For more information contact:
Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, 516-390-7150, 631-384-1378 (mobile), aesposito@citizenscampaign.org

DEC FORMS TASK FORCE TO SEEK ANSWERS FOR UNEXPLAINED RADIOACTIVE GROUNDWATER PLUME

Radioactive Groundwater Contamination Discovered in Yaphank – South of Long Island Compost

In a little known investigation, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) Bureaus of Groundwater Investigation and Water Resources Management have been collecting environmental samples in Yaphank since December 2009. The contaminated groundwater plume, just south of Great Gardens/Long Island Compost, is in the shallow aquifer and most notably contains unexplained radiological contamination. It is being referred to as the “Horseblock Road Investigation”.

The SCDHS notified DEC, and in 2010 both agencies jointly collected samples from the Long Island Compost facility, which is believed to be the source of the contamination. Soil samples and groundwater samples were positive for radiation. The source of the radiation is still unknown.

In April, 2011, Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) filed a Freedom of Information Request to obtain information on this plume. As a result, DEC formed a Task Force, which includes NYS Department of Health, SCDHS, DEC, Brookhaven National Laboratory and CCE. The first meeting was held on May 24, 2011, and it was agreed that additional samples from Long Island Compost and the groundwater south of this facility would be taken to determine the specific radiological contaminats. It was agreed sampling will be conducted over a two week timeframe which concludes on June 7, 2011. These groundwater and soil samples would be tested by both the Suffolk County Department of Health and the NYS Department of Health.

“It is imperative that this investigation proceed in a comprehensive and expedited manner,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “We need to get clear answers on what caused the radioactive plume and how can we prevent this in the future. Protecting groundwater should be given the highest priority by all the agencies involved. It is also imperative that this investigation be conducted in a transparent manner.”

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Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) empowers communities and advocates solutions for our shared environment and public health and is supported by over 80,000 members throughout New York State and Connecticut. www.citizenscampaign.org

updated by bsmith  6/1/11