Recent Results from DEC Oversight Revealed Detections of Radium in Soil on Company Property
DEC and DOH Find Contamination Poses No Threat to Drinking Water or the Public
DEC Will Identify Long Island Industrial Facilities with Potential for Past Radioactive Material Use and Waste
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today ordered Lockheed Martin to immediately conduct an expanded investigation into the detection of Radium-226 at the former Unisys facility in Lake Success after sampling results this week confirmed the presence of radium in soil being excavated from the site as part of an ongoing cleanup of the site.
The recently identified soil contamination poses no threat to drinking water in the area as Nassau County Department of Health and Manhasset Lakeville Water District data indicates all nearby drinking water sources consistently meet applicable standards. As part of the immediate, expanded investigation into the nature and extent of the radium detected in soil on the site, DEC is directing Lockheed Martin to immediately sample 17 groundwater monitoring wells on site for radiological compounds, including radium, uranium and thorium, and will be onsite to monitor these efforts.
DEC also demanded that Lockheed Martin produce within 30 days a comprehensive analysis of the storage, use and disposal of all radiological items previously used at the facility.
As part of DEC's continued oversight and monitoring of the final stages of the ongoing Superfund cleanup and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act closure of the site, Lockheed Martin was required to conduct the excavation of contaminated soil from several locations on the 90 acre site. In late May, a truck carrying soil excavated from one area of the facility was rejected at a waste management facility in Pennsylvania due to a detection of radiation. As required by law and DEC regulations, Lockheed Martin reported the exceedance to DEC and the state immediately directed the company to analyze the soil to determine the type and amounts of radiation present. Based on the results returned on the evening of June 27, elevated levels of Radium-226 was detected in three of the four samples above naturally occurring background levels.
Following the identification of radium, DEC directed Lockheed to screen all other excavation sites and no additional areas of concern have been observed to date, and this screening will continue. DEC and DOH are dedicating all necessary resources to expedite the investigation and remedial actions and ensure public health is protected and has increased its onsite oversight of these efforts. No visible dust from the excavations has been observed to date, and a Community Air Monitoring Program has been in place throughout the duration of the ongoing remediation and dust suppression equipment is available on site.
DEC has directed Lockheed Martin to suspend excavation while sampling is conducted and to update the excavation plan to address the radioactive materials. A licensed decontamination and decommissioning contractor will oversee future excavation and remediation in the impacted area to ensure proper surveys and controls are in place for the excavation and disposal to be property executed.
In order to proactively locate potential sources of radioactive contamination, DEC will identify industrial facilities with potential histories of radioactive material use and determine if any release to the environment occurred from these facilities. While radium and other radioactive materials can be naturally occurring, and some detections in groundwater are not uncommon, DEC is continuing to aggressively pursue any potential sources of contamination and hold polluters accountable.
The state will continue to closely monitor Lockheed Martin's remediation activities and ensure the expeditious cleanup of the contamination at this site. All additional information will be posted on DEC's Lockheed Martin web page.