For immediate release:
Sunday, September 25, 2011
For more information contact: Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director
Citizens Campaign for the Environment 516 390-7150 (office) - 631-384-1378 (mobile)
BROOKHAVEN COMMUNITY COALITION CALLS ON DEC TO ENCLOSE COMPOST/MULCH FACILITIES
ANOTHER NEEDLESS FIRE STRIKES YAPHANK DUE TO UNREGUALATED AND OPEN AIR COMPOST/MULCH FACILITIES
Brookhaven, NY - Throughout the Town of Brookhaven, compost, mulching, and landfill issues have plagued communities with odor, dust, debris and noise without proper oversight, regulation and code enforcement. The mulch fire at Beaver Industries in Yaphank on September 22 is just one more incident that illustrates the need for these facilities to be regulated and enclosed to protect public health and safety. The 28 organizations of the Brookhaven Community Coalition (BCC) are continuing their call for immediate full enclosure of all Composting and Mulching operations – starting with Long Island’s largest; Long Island Compost/Great Gardens.
“The Yaphank Civic Association strongly supports BCC's efforts to rescind the exemption granted to LIC/Great Gardens. This huge facility was thrust upon a residential area and has consistently through the years been an unfair detriment to our community and seriously deteriorated our quality of life,” said Chad Trusnovec, President Yaphank Taxpayers and Civic Association and a BCC member.
Fire fighters arrived to a serious fire of burning organic material last week at the Beaver Industries mulch facility. Emergency responders spent hours fighting a fire on a mulch pile that was much taller than the allowable limit of 25 feet. This scene was all too reminiscent of the massive fire at Long Island Compost in July, 2010 where 26 fire companies responded to flames shooting up 60 feet in the air, fueled by compost, mulch and other unregulated yard debris.
“It is critical that the first responders racing into these fires know what they are walking into, and if there are any risks to their health. It is my job to make sure that these people are prepared and taking the proper preventative measures, but we rely on our government and agencies to ensure that these places are following set codes and regulations, and are operating in a safe manner. If these facilities were enclosed and properly taken care of, it is likely these fires would have been avoided.” said Mike Verni, Commissioner of Brookhaven Fire Department and a BBC member.
The BCC has requested the Commissioner of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation take swift action to enclose the LI Compost/Great Gardens. An enclosed structure would not only eliminate the odors and dust that plague Brookhaven communities but it also allows for temperature and humidity to be controlled thereby reducing the risk of fires.
“The LI Compos/Great Gardens was given a variance by the NYS DEC that allows them to operate in open air. The BCC has called for the immediate revoking of this exemption, as it should have never been permitted in the first place,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment and a BCC member. “The DEC should put the public interest ahead of corporate interest and require the LI Compost facility to be enclosed. The public has suffered for 11 years, enough is enough.”
“There is nobody taking responsibility for these facilities. They are given free rein to operate in an unsafe manner. These facilities are negatively affecting the quality of life of neighbors and threatening the public health of emergency responders. I have lived in this community my entire life. The Long Island Compost is having negative impacts on our communities. It is time for Brookhaven Town and the DEC to come up with a constructive plan to help us protect our neighborhoods,” said Mark Magnani a member of the Brookhaven Community Coalition.
Across the country, compost and mulching operations operate successfully and safely in state-of-the-art enclosed and filtered facilities. In Delaware County, NY the IPS Composting system operates in a stainless steel structure and processes 42,000 tons of organic waste per year. In Los Angeles County, a 453,900 square foot building houses processes necessary to produce 250,000 tons of compost a year.
The Fire Place History Club celebrates the amazing story of the Brookhaven hamlet area's people and environment, including the founding of the Environmental Defense Fund, our nation's largest environmental organization. It is painful to see that the story's present chapter is dominated by the pollution coming from the Town landfill and Long Island Compost. New York State and Brookhaven Town need to do the right historic thing now and take steps to protect our community and others affected by these facilities. As a first step, the state should require the enclosure of LIC,” said Marty Van Lith, chair, Fire Place History Club and a BCC member.
“The residents of the South Yaphank Community have suffered for the past eleven years with the odor, dust and noise from the Long Island Compost facility. It is now time for the DEC and the Town of Brookhaven to protect the health and safety of our community. The civic and the community are in support of the effort of the BCC in requesting that the facility be enclosed. The time has come that government agencies need to act,” said Johan McConnell, President of South Yaphank Civic Association and a BCC member.
"The Brookhaven Village Association is dedicated to preserving the quality of life we had until the Landfill and LI Compost became a burden and a blight on our community. We respectfully but strongly urge ALL of our elected officials to do the right thing and simply enforce the laws that are already in place. It's not rocket science, it's common sense!" said Kathleen Schiebel, a BCC member.
Brookhaven Community Coalition
Affiliated Brookhaven Civic Organizations; Atlantic Point Apartments; Bellport Teachers Assistants & Associates; Bellport Teachers Association; Bellport Chamber of Commerce, Brookhaven Fire Department; Brookhaven Fire District; Brookhaven Free Library; Brookhaven Industrial Group; Brookhaven Village Association; Citizens Campaign for the Environment; Fire Place History Club; Friends of Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge; Greater Bellport Coalition; The Longwood Alliance; Manor Park Civic Association; Medford Taxpayers & Civic Association, Overton Preserve Coalition; Post Morrow Foundation, Inc.; South Country Ambulance Company; South Country Board of Education; South Country C.S.E.A.; South Country Community Conference; South Yaphank Civic Association; Sungate Homeowners Association; Yaphank Fire Department; Yaphank Taxpayers & Civic Association, Inc.