Update: The DEC has set Feb. 27 for a meeting on its decision. Find out more here.
Previous: A decision by the state Department of Environmental Conservation not to further remediate a toxic plume that runs a few miles under homes and businesses in Speonk will be vetted before the public, according to Aphrodite Montalvo, a spokeswoman for the DEC.
The meeting comes at the request of both the Group for the East End and Assemblyman Fred Thiele after they got wind of the decision, which is based on a report submitted to the DEC.
Montalvo explained that after reading the report, the DEC "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."
The DEC was also not able to ever identify the original source of the plume, she said.
However, she stated that when the plume was first discovered some 10 years ago there were some homes, which were hooked up to wells, that were impacted. Those homes, she said, now receive 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.
"We don't really understand why they came to this conclusion," said Jennifer Hartnagel, a senior environmental advocate for the Group for the East End.
Hartnagel, who has been following the plume issue for the past six years, said the Group for the East End was disappointed with the decision not to clean up the plume.
"It is a pretty large plume and heading toward the bay in the area," she said, but she added, "We are pleased that the DEC has decided to engage the community and schedule a forum to discuss its recent decision. There are many unanswered questions and the community has the right to understand the DEC's decision not to clean-up the contamination. Then, we can start to ask, where do we go from here?"
Thiele said he too wants to hear what the DEC has to say.
"I think the DEC has some explaining to do here," he said. "I am not saying that the DEC is right or wrong, but they need to explain."
The assemblyman further indicated that he hopes that the decision was not based on money.
According to Thiele, when a responsible party can't be identified in a contamination, it is incumbent on the DEC to use Superfund monies to pay for remediation.
He said, "The public heath has to come first before budget issues."
The DEC said it is working on a date for the meeting and once one is settled on it will be announced.
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