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Feb 19, 2013 11:49 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Two Civics Will Host Joint Meeting Thursday Night To Discuss Speonk Plume

Feb 20, 2013 12:31 PM

Members of the Speonk-Remsenburg Civic Association and the Citizens Advisory Committee-West will host a joint meeting this Thursday evening in order to better prepare themselves for next week’s public hearing that will focus on a nearly 2-mile-long plume of contaminated groundwater in Speonk—and the State Department of Environmental Conservation’s decision not to clean it up.

According to a release issued by CAC-West President Hank Beck, the meeting scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. on February 21 in Meeting Room A of the Westhampton Free Library in Westhampton Beach will provide a chance for local residents to help formulate a unified response to a 16,000-page characterization study of the contamination that was recently completed. It will also be their final opportunity before next week’s hearing, scheduled for Wednesday, February 27, to respond to the DEC’s decision not to remediate the plume that will eventually threaten Moriches Bay.

Local expert hydrogeologists Bob Mozer, Richard Baldwin and Stephanie Davis, along with Jenn Hartnagel, a senior environmental advocate with the Group for the East End, and Andrea Spilka, president of the Southampton Town Civic Coalition, are all expected to attend Thursday night’s meeting and share their thoughts. All concerned parties are also invited.

“The Speonk plume is constantly moving and represents an ongoing environmental hazard not only to wells that lay in its path, but also in the ultimate destination of all our underground flows—into our bays and surface waters,” Mr. Beck said this week. “If I read the text of the DEC report correctly, they propose doing nothing.”

The plume was discovered in 2001 after an unidentified resident complained that the well water in Speonk tasted odd. The report, which took more than a year to complete, failed to identify a potential source of the plume—a necessary step in determining a guilty party responsible for funding any remediation efforts. After learning late last year that the DEC had relabeled the plume as a class “N” site—which stands for “No Action Necessary”—and would, therefore, not be performing any remediation, officials with the Group for the East End began calling on the DEC to address concerns still shared by them and area residents.

The public hearing scheduled for Wednesday, February 27, will be held on the eastern campus of Suffolk County Community College in Northampton. The meeting, which runs from 7 to 9 p.m., will be held in Room S-101 of the Shinnecock Building.

The meeting is expected to address the concerns of residents who were first notified about the plume more than a decade ago, discuss the results of the site characterization report for the area, provide information about the site classification and explain the agency’s rationale behind not removing the chemicals from the soil.

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