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Navy publishes survey to gather input on environmental concerns at former Navy/Grumman site

The U.S. Navy has published a 12-question survey regarding environmental concerns at the former Navy/Grumman site, where residents have raised issues about the contamination of their drinking water.

Groundwater pollution at the site has been attributed to the Navy and Grumman’s activities when the Navy owned the land and leased it to Grumman. 

The homes in question are south of the Navy property, now called the Enterprise Park at Calverton, and owned mostly by Riverhead Town, although the Navy still retains some land there.   

Residents say they fear contamination from the Navy property has impacted their drinking water, which comes from groundwater, not public water. 

A link to the survey is posted on Riverhead Town’s website.

People can also do the survey verbally by emailing: [email protected] to set up an appointment, or by calling 1-757-953-4063. 

Kelly McClinchy of Manorville, who has led the effort to bring public water to the area, said she has urged residents to complete the survey.

“The Navy needs to know that the people don’t think they’re doing a great job,” she said. “If you live in the area, if you live in Riverhead or if you have any interest in EPCAL, fill it out. Let the Navy know what you think they are doing.” 

The information in the survey will be confidential and no names will be released, officials said.

It includes general questions like whether the respondent lives in Calverton, or if not how far they live from the site.

A second group of questions deals with environmental issues, such as level of concern with surface water, ground water and soil. Respondents also can indicate if there are chemicals in the groundwater or issues they are concerned about. 

The survey also asked if the respondent is aware that the Navy has an Environmental Restoration Program to address those issues, or of they are aware that there is Restoration Advisory Board, or RAB, that consists of community members. 

The survey also asks respondents if they’d be interested in joining the RAB for the Calverton site. 

The third section asks, “Do you have confidence in the Navy to address environmental issues at the former Navy/Grumman facility and to keep you fully informed?”

When the Navy turned over the land to the town in 1988, it kept 352 acres which needed to be cleaned as a result of the work done by Grumman, which made and tested fighter jets. In 2007, the Navy turned over 144 acres to the town, but it retained 208 acres, which needed further cleanup.

Recent testing done by the Suffolk County Health Department in late 2020 showed that 14 of 95 wells tested in this area had contaminants. 

But the Navy has refused to except responsibility for contamination in those wells. 

Dave Todd, a Navy spokesman, told the News-Review earlier this year: “These sampled wells are not down-gradient from known or suspected releases on NWIRP (National Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant) Calverton, either because the sampled wells are south of the Peconic River, which forms a barrier to groundwater flow to the south, or are too far to the south-west, therefore well outside the path of the southeast groundwater flow from NWIRP Calverton releases.”

He added: “The Navy…will continue to let the data and science dictate the scope of remediation efforts. The Navy has requested the sampling data from Suffolk County for further analysis. Suffolk County has notified the Navy that it will not make the data available to the Navy for another six months.”