Mattituck Airbase removed from state DEC Superfund list

Small planes parked at the New Suffolk Avenue airbase. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)
Small planes parked at the New Suffolk Avenue airbase. (Credit: Carrie Miller, file)

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has removed Mattituck Airbase from New York’s Superfund site program.

The department notified the public of its intent to remove the New Suffolk Avenue site in August, saying it no longer poses a threat to public health or the environment.

The property, which currently operates as an informal airbase used by a few area pilots, was on the state’s Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site list, which identifies properties being investigated for potential hazardous wasteand outlines any cleanup efforts taking place.

The 12-acre site included a half-acre parcel where chemicals — including fuels, oils and cleaners — were once used for maintenance and repair work, according to state DEC officials. Solvent rinses and wastewater used on the property were discharged to leaching pools in the area from 1946 to 1979, leaving elevated levels of copper, iron, nickel, zinc, lead and cadmium in nearby soils, as well as several pesticide ingredients, according to the previous DEC listing.

Soil testing conducted in November 2013 found no lingering impact from the contaminants in question and it was determined that no public or environmental threats exist at the site, according to DEC officials.

The base was created in 1946, when Parker Wickham of Mattituck, who overhauled airplane engines during World War II, converted part of his family’s New Suffolk Avenue potato farm into a small airport and plane engine rebuilding shop under the name Mattituck Services, according to previous Suffolk Times coverage. The property is currently owned by Jay Parker Wickham of Mattituck.

A  family spokesperson said the announcement “is very exciting. We’ve been working for this, to get it done for a long time. We are glad that it is now complete.”

The removal of the airbase leaves 10 properties currently being investigated across Riverhead and Southold towns.

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