Investigation into radiation levels on I-Park soccer fields to begin

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The North Hempstead Town Board approved spending $4,500 to investigate radiation levels at the I-Park soccer fields on Union Turnpike in New Hyde Park last week. The board has hired P.W. Grosser Consulting, an environmental engineering firm, to conduct the investigation.

The soccer fields have already been cleared for public use, according to Carole Trottere, a town spokeswoman, but she said the town would like a final test to confirm that it is safe to use.

The soccer fields are used by permit only. Many children play on the fields as it is home to intramural teams such as the New Hyde Park Wildcats soccer team as well as coaching events.

Officials with the state Department of Environmental Conservation closed the fields in November after slightly elevated radiation levels were found.

A portion of the land that the soccer fields are on used to be home to a Unisys Defense Corp. facility. The company was acquired by Loral Corp. in 1995, and Loral was purchased a year later by Lockheed Martin.

According to Newsday, Unisys workers dumped chemicals into dry wells which eventually began to seep into groundwater. After purchasing Loral, Lockheed Martin was ordered by the Department of Environmental Conservation to conduct a $32 million cleanup in 2015. This included processes to remove and treat water on the land.

Lockheed Martin, based in Bethesda, Maryland, has preformed cleanups before on Long Island. In 2017, the company moved 275 truckloads of contaminated soil from a Lake Success office. It also worked on water supply reclamation projects in Manhasset and the Village of Lake Success, as well as putting money towards a state study of Long Island’s groundwater.

Most recently, the firm agreed in March to install monitoring wells in Russell Gardens. A groundwater plume there is moving northwest and is expected to pass through the village in 2020. The primary contaminant has been identified as trichloroethene, or TCE. This is a degreaser that was dumped in the 1940s when the facility was owned by Sperry.

Trottere said the town will meet with P.W. Grosser Consulting later this week. The company will give town officials an update on the radiation investigation, including an estimation on how long the process will take.

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