Read the full article by Denise Civiletti (Riverhead Local)

“After finding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at the former Grumman site in Calverton, the Navy will conduct further testing to determine the extent of PFAS groundwater contamination there.

In a letter dated Aug. 12, the Department of the Navy asked the town to allow its engineers access to two town-owned parcels at the former Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant to conduct additional environmental investigation.

The town board at its meeting Tuesday authorized the supervisor to sign a consent agreement granting the Navy access to town’s property.

The investigation will also include three Navy-owned parcels at the EPCAL site and will last approximately two years, the Navy said in the letter. The Navy plans to obtain additional soil samples and install both temporary wells and long-term monitoring wells at the site. The monitoring wells will remain in place until the investigation is complete and will be accessed every three to six months to collect groundwater samples.

PFAS are a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries since the 1940s. They are used in products such as water-repellent clothing, furniture, adhesives, paint and varnish, food packaging, heat-resistant non-stick cooking surfaces and insulation of electrical wires.

Chemicals in this group include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). PFOA is being phased out, but is still used to make household and commercial products that resist heat and repel stains. PFOS is used in fire-fighting foam. Both are newly listed hazardous substances.

The chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.

The Navy has been investigating the possibility of contamination of drinking water wells within a one-mile radius ‘down-gradient’ of the former Navy manufacturing facility occupied by the Grumman Aerospace Corp. (later Northrop-Grumman) from the early 1950s through the mid-1990s. Grumman manufactured, assembled and tested military aircraft there. The Navy began its assessment of environmental conditions at the site in the mid-1980s. When when the federal government transferred the site to the Town of Riverhead in 1998, the Navy retained three parcels of land inside the fenced 2,900-acre site due to environmental contamination…”