Jul 25, 2014

Report: Town Could Sue Over Speonk Plume

Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst made the legal threat last Thursday at a joint civic meeting.

Report: Town Could Sue Over Speonk Plume

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said last Thursday night that if the New York Department of Environmental Conservation doesn't step up to clean-up a toxic plume in Speonk, then the town will consider filing a lawsuit, according to a report on 27east.

Throne-Holst made the statement while addressing a group of civic members and environmental advocates at a meeting that was called to form a "united response" to a ruling by the DEC which will be the subject of a DEC information session on Feb. 27.

The ruling stated that the DEC has no plans to clean-up the 10-year-old toxic plume that runs a few miles under homes and businesses in Speonk. In addition, the DEC reported that was not able to identify the original source of the plume, but any homes in the area that drew water from wells have since been hooked up to public water.

The DEC decision has raised numerous questions by residents, civic groups and environmentalists, including Jennifer Hartnagel, a senior environmental advocate for the Group for the East End, who together have drawn up a list of 16 questions to ask the DEC on Wednesday night.

Among them:

  • What is the basis for the site not meeting the criteria to be included on the state's "Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site" List?
  • What is the decision-making process to address the concerns for potential future exposure to residents from soil vapor intrusion and to contaminated drinking water as the plume continues to migrate towards the Bay?
  • CDM states that the release of chemicals to the ground occurred at least 10-20 years ago. This time frame seems inconsistent with the extent of the "plume" and the occurrence of carbon tetrachloride, which has been banned for more years than that. Please explain.
  • The Site Characterization Report and additional documentation is not posted anywhere in the public realm, due to existing DEC regulations. The public is not notified when decisions are made regarding this plume. How can we ensure that the community is notified on future actions relating to this issue?
  • How will this plume be monitored in the future and what agency is/will be responsible for the monitoring?
  • If this might be a concern and there is no future monitoring plan, how can we ensure that public health remains a priority and the necessary testing is completed?

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