Schumer spoke with Carlos Del Toro, who President Joe Biden nominated to be the next Secretary of the Navy, to press the military branch to work with localities, expand the continuing probe into the contamination, conduct its own test sampling and provide public drinking water to more than 120 impacted homes.
“These are things that will need to remain priorities for the Navy, and they must act,” said Schumer, the Democratic majority leader of the U.S. Senate. In a follow-up letter, he wrote: “The recent decision by [the] Navy not to further investigate the potential contamination of additional private drinking water sources near NWIRP Calverton is shortsighted and not in the interest of protecting public health.”
Suffolk County Department of Health Services tests revealed in December polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) well above New York State’s maximum contaminant level of 10 parts per trillion in wells near the former federally owned Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant (NWIRP), which closed in 1996.
The use of industrial-strength firefighting foam during past training exercises at the plant have been known to introduce chemicals such as PFAS into the surrounding groundwater. Exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse health outcomes in humans, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.