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Civics, Environmentalists Join Forces Over Toxic Plume; Plan Meeting

The meeting will be held on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Westhampton Beach Free Library

Area civic groups and environmental advocates have joined forces to address looming questions over a Department of Environmental Conservation decision not to do anything about a 10-year-old toxic plume that runs a few miles under homes and businesses in Speonk.

On Thursday at 6:30 at the Westhampton Free Library a public meeting will be held to discuss the DEC's decision and to form a "united response" to the ruling.

During the meeting, CAC-West and Speonk Remsenburg Civic Association members with the assistance of hydrogeologists Bob Mozer, Richard Baldwin and Stephanie Davis; Jenn Hartnagel of the Group for the East End; and Andrea Spilka of the Southampton Town Civic Coalition, said they intend to draw up "an appropriate response" to present to the DEC on Feb, 27.

The DEC — at the request of the public — has set Feb 27 at 7 p.m. at the Suffolk County Community College, Eastern Campus, Shinnecock Building, for a hearing on its decision.

"It is critically important that members of our community express our concerns about the findings and recommendations of this report," said Hank Beck, head of CAC-West.

Community members became concerned after the DEC released the report that stemmed from an investigation that "determined that no one was drinking the contaminated groundwater and there were no residences impacted by vapor intrusion such that a mitigation system is needed."

According to Aphrodite Montalvo, a spokeswoman for the DEC, during the course of its investigation, the DEC was not able to ever identify the original source of the plum and that any homes in the area that drew water from wells have since been hooked up to public water.

"During the course of the evaluation, DEC took appropriate measures to mitigate threats to human health from either contaminated groundwater supply or from soil vapor intrusion," Montalvo said.

See attached PDF for DEC report.

However, that response hasn't proved enough from environmentalists, including Jennifer Hartnagel, a senior environmental advocate for the Group for the East End.

"We don't really understand why they came to this conclusion," she said, adding, "It is a pretty large plume and heading toward the bay in the area."

Assemblyman Fred Thiele said he too has questions: "I am not saying that the DEC is right or wrong, but they need to explain."

Patch Wants to Know: What questions do you have about the Speonk Plume? Post them in the comment section below.

Related Reading:

DEC to Inform Public on Speonk Plume Decision

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