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Source: Newsday

Environmental group raises concerns about Brookhaven Town landfill

BY CARL MACGOWAN

Posted: February 25, 2015
Originally Published: February 24, 2015

A study commissioned by a Long Island environmental advocacy group said Brookhaven officials don't do enough to monitor possible groundwater and air pollution caused by the town's landfill.

The 11-page report, released this week by Farmingdale-based Citizens Campaign for the Environment, is based on dozens of town and state documents obtained by the group through Freedom of Information requests. The report concludes that "data that has been reviewed . . . does not support that Brookhaven is doing any due diligence to protect surface water and streams."

Brookhaven officials Tuesday defended their monitoring program and said the report was "replete with errors."

Citizens Campaign executive director Adrienne Esposito said the $10,000 report was prepared on behalf of the Brookhaven Community Coalition, an umbrella group of civic organizations representing residents living near the 192-acre landfill. The town accepts construction and demolition debris and ash at the facility, which brings in net revenue of $30 million a year, town officials said.

Residents have long complained of foul stenches from the landfill and expressed concerns about a plume that runs beneath the community.

"Air quality is a very big deal to the community," Esposito said in an interview on Monday. "They just need to know, and they deserve to know."

The report was prepared by Consulting for Health, Air, Nature and a Greener Environment, or CHANGE, an environmental consultant in upstate Queensbury. Chief executive Timothy R. McAuley said efforts to find documents outlining the town's monitoring program were unsuccessful.

Town officials yesterday criticized the report, saying CHANGE officials did not visit the landfill or discuss their concerns with the town.

"I think it would be very helpful to have an exchange," Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said in an interview. "I think we all want to have a landfill with less risk."

Waste management commissioner Matt Miner said the town monitors air and water quality and pays the state $104,000 for an environmental engineer to monitor the site.

Brookhaven resident Dave Wahlfeld, who lives about a mile from the landfill, said he hopes the report spurs officials to address the community's concerns. "There's just times when the smell is just horrible, burns your throat," he said.