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Source: The Long Island Advance

First step towards compost progress

BY LINDA LEUZZI

Posted: October 16, 2011
Originally Published: October 13, 2011

State Senator Lee Zeldin and Assemblyman Dean Murray announced that some changes are on the way at Long Island Compost. An agreement has been secured with Long Island Compost, which takes place on Oct. 15, to reduce its grass clipping operation by 90 percent. That means 35,000 tons less of grass clippings a year. The grass clippings, said Zeldin, are considered a source of odors.

“At the end of June, Assemblyman Murray and I focused a lot of our efforts on meeting with all parties,” Zeldin said.

“We had about a dozen meetings with the DEC, the Brookhaven Community Coalition and concerned citizens and that doesn’t include the phone calls.

Diplomacy was the best policy and I believe (Long Island Compost) were grateful in speaking to them and getting all our facts and sharing information.”

Zeldin said it was widely believed the grass clippings are the primary source of the odor complaints. “From all our meetings, no one’s advocated that anything else is the cause. I have not received information inconsistent with that argument.” Zeldin said he and Murray were still requesting the Department of Environmental Conversation revise their Part 360 regulations. “We had a meeting with the DEC in Albany and a representative from the governors office was on the phone with us,” he said. “I remain confident that our efforts there will be rewarded there as well.”

Zeldin said they’ll monitor if this initiative is successful. “We’ll find out relatively soon,” he said. “If a month and a half from now nothing’s changed, we need to sit down and find another solution.”

“Are we glad they did this, yes,” said Citizens Campaign for the Environment Executive Director Adrienne Esposito, who is leading the Brookhaven Community Coalition fight for Long Island Compost’s enclosure. “The goal here is enclosing the facility and returning the area to a liveable place. And that’s not going to be accomplished with just grass clippings.” Esposito said in talks with the DEC, odor was caused by a number of factors.

“The DEC said it was a combination of mulch, grass clippings, vegetative debris – so the odors were not in one specific location. The interesting thing is that we shouldn’t be collecting grass clippings. They should stay on their lawn. They’re not a waste product, they’re a raw material.” Esposito commented the gains made were progress. “In the journey of a thousand miles this is a constructive step forward and frankly we have a long way to go and we need the senator and the assemblyman in the efforts to help solve the big problems,” she said.