Drums Of Toxic Chemicals Found Buried In Community With Cancer Concerns

By Jason Hall

April 5, 2024

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Photo: Getty Images

Six large drums holding toxic chemicals were found encased in concrete under a park in a Long Island community with a history of cancer concerns.

The 55-gallon steel drums were discovered by contractors testing the soil at the Bethpage Community Park, which had previously served as the Northrop Grumman Aerospace dumping ground decades prior, according to Newsday. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed the findings on Thursday (April 4), but claimed the chemicals presented "no immediate threat to public health," despite concerns from local residents.

“We discovered Grumman’s graveyard for contamination,” Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino told Newsday. “These drums were encased in concrete coffins, which proves to us that they knew they contained very dangerous content.”

Bethpage residents have argued that cancer is more prevalent in its community than surrounding areas due to the history of Northrop Grumman's hazardous waste dumping, which had led to the presence of a 6-square-mile underground toxic plume. At least one of the recently discovered steel drums was reported to be punctured and some contained flammable chemicals, according to Saladino.

A layer of clay was also discovered beneath the containers and chemicals are suspected to have possibly seeped. The drums were discovered next to an abandoned baseball field, which was closed due to soil contamination concerns 20 years prior.

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