Friday, September 30, 2011

LI Advance article: DEC looks at mulch site regulation

From: Sharon - Brookhaven Community Coalition []
Sent: Friday, September 30, 2011 12:04 PM
Subject: LI Advance article: DEC looks at mulch site regulation


DEC looks at mulch site regulation
Story By:  LINDA LEUZZI, Editor



29 September 2011


Department of Environmental Conservation Long Island Regional Director Peter Scully said the state agency was hoping to roll out proposed revisions to Part 360 regulations by the end of the year that would address sites like Beaver Industries in Yaphank, where a combustible fire erupted last week.
“It accepts land clearing debris and ships it into a mulch product,” Scully said of the facility at 275 Main Street. “It’s located on residentially-zoned property. The town took it to court to bring it in compliance. The current solid waste regulations specifically exempts those facilities with land clearing debris and it is possible [the regulation] could be amended.”
“[Beaver Industries] is just blatantly illegal,” said Supervisor Mark Lesko. “They’re not in compliance with town zoning. We sued them and urged the court to close the facility there. The judge denied a temporary restraining order but that doesn’t mean they denied the request to shut them down. He said ‘I’ll hear the lawsuit and make a decision.’ It’s a bad situation.”
When contacted, a representative from Beaver Industries commented there was no one who could talk about the fire and hung up. 
Legislator Kate Browning said the DEC could create regulation over land clearing debris and mulch sites, which she’s been pushing. “The state health commissioner and state health officials have balked at regulation,” she said. “Beaver Industries, I believe their piles were at 40 feet. You’re talking about air quality in residential communities. If you don’t regulate them, they’ll continue to do what they’re doing and local residents will wind up with health problems.” Browning contacted Fire Rescue Emergency Services Commissioner Joe Williams the day of the fire, who sent a representative to the site as well as Suffolk County Department of Health. “My chief fire marshal was there and I was told [the piles were] 40 feet in height,” Williams said. “I recommended and it’s a fact that it’s best to wear self-contained breathing apparatus, even in building fires, that’s a national standard.
Brookhaven Fire Department second assistant chief Tom Connors said his department was activated at 11:16 a.m. Thursday morning. “I was directing all the big tankers needed for water,” he said. “I saw a lot of smoke. It came under control about 1:30 p.m.
Councilwoman Connie Kepert, who headed the town’s compost committee, said a number of recommendations were made and passed by the town board Oct. 2010. “We passed a sense regulation recommending the DEC amend mulch exemption and sent a copy to Scully as well as to Senator Lee Zeldin and Assemblyman Dean Murray,” she said. “Then we had numerous conversations about air quality standards. They are regional and not site specific.” Kepert said another sense resolution was passed. “If we have the DEC going to Long Island Compost, for example, and they do a sniff test and also measure the particulate matter, if it doesn’t affect the entire region, which is Long Island, then it’s bogus and they can’t regulate it. We also asked them to enforce preferred practices at all facilities within the town.”
The Yaphank fire erupted hours after the Brookhaven Community Coalition and community residents met with Lesko last Wednesday night at the Brookhaven Fire Department. Their topics included concern about the town supervisor not asking the DEC to rescind the Long Island Compost permit which would require them to enclose the facility. 
“The actual oversight primarily lies with state DEC and Suffolk County Department of Health,” Lesko told the Advance. “That site has been regulated by those entities and they have to date not shut them down nor have they made them enclose. I don’t know specifically why the DEC and county Department of Health have made those decisions, the enclosure issue could be the size. But the Brookhaven Community Coalition gave me information about large enclosed facilities. If I’m going to take a definitive position I want it to be an informed one. With Long Island Compost, the enclosure would only address about 15 percent of the property. You have 85 percent of the rest with mulch piles. So, even if you went to enclosed processing, you are really not solving the major problem. I sent my letter to DEC to review the issue and had a personal phone call pursuant to my request and the coalition’s request. The DEC is not only looking at the variance but are conducting a top-to-bottom review of the way they regulate the facility so the coalition is getting more than they ask and that’s a good thing. There’s no doubt Long Island Compost negatively impacts the lives of residents within the vicinity so I have no problems urging the DEC, the county Department of Health and Long Island Compost to improve their quality of life standards.” 
BCC Executive Board member Marty Van Lith, who attended the meeting, said Lesko took questions from the audience for well over an hour until after 9 p.m. “To give him credit, at least he’s meeting with us,” Van Lith said. “No previous supervisor has done that over the last 40 years.”
Van Lith cited the Delaware County MSW Co-Composting facility in upstate Walton, New York, just one of several enclosed processing facilities in the country.
Citizens Campaign for the Environment Executive Director Adrienne Esposito who is steering the BCC’s issues, commented there was concern and anger regarding Lesko not committing yet to the BCC’s request to enclose Long Island Compost. “There was an honest dialogue about the compost facility and the landfill and we are moving ahead,” she said.


Thursday, September 29, 2011



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, 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.                   




Tuesday, September 20, 2011


From: Sharon - Brookhaven Community Coalition 
Sent: Monday, September 19, 2011 2:47 PM

September 19, 2011

Legislator Browning Adds 23 Acres of Controversial County Land to Southaven Park

Description: Legacy Village Preservation 001

(Pictured Left to Right: John and Johan McConnell, South Yaphank Civic Assoc., Martin Van Lith, Post Morrow Foundation, Robert and Audrey Kessler, Yaphank Historical Society, Tom Williams, Post Morrow Foundation, Sharon Wiesmann, resident, Chard Trusnovec, Yaphank Taxpayers & Civic Assoc., and Legislator Kate Browning.)

Yaphank, NY – In 2010 County Executive Steve Levy proposed the development of 253 acres of county land in Yaphank, also known as “Legacy Village”. The land is located in the Carmans River watershed and surrounds the historic community of Yaphank. A piece of the county holdings, known as Parcel A, was originally proposed to have two 5,000 seat arenas constructed on it. Legislator Kate Browning (WF-Shirley) whose district includes Yaphank, led the fight to stop Legacy Village, and last Thursday she secured the unanimous support of her colleagues at Suffolk County’s legislative meeting to transfer 23 acres to the Department of Parks and Recreation. This portion of the county owned land is now forever preserved. What was once slated to be two massive arenas along the shore of the Carmans River is now an extension of Southaven Park.

            The Legacy Village proposal was immediately met with opposition from residents and environmentalists when County Executive Levy finally unveiled the plan after years of meeting with developers behind closed doors. Soon after Legacy Village was released the Town of Brookhaven began work on the Carmans River Protection Plan. The town plan made it clear that areas surrounding the river should not be developed and any waste water credits should be directed away from the river. The economy also continued to weaken and support for Legacy Village quickly dwindled. The Suffolk County Legislature eventually approved legislation that prevented the county from moving forward with “Legacy Village”.

            “Legacy Village was an unsustainable plan from the start, and was in direct conflict with the Town of Brookhaven’s efforts to preserve the Carmans River,” stated Legislator Browning. “Killing the County Executive’s project was only the first piece of the puzzle.”

            However, the legislature still voted to surplus some of the property in Yaphank to the highest bidder, which Legislator Browning opposed, so she immediately introduced I.R. 1267-11 to preserve the most sensitive land in order to prevent any sale of this important buffer. The 23 acres is all wooded and falls within the 0-5 years contributing area of the Carmans River., and also contains the old Almshouse cemetery. The county is still trying to sell other county land in the area.

            “This land should never have been proposed for development,” stated Legislator Browning. “It is directly adjacent to the Carmans River and would have had a negative impact on the environment. I am grateful that my colleagues saw the importance of preserving this parcel.”

            “The Yaphank Historical Society wishes to thank Kate Browning for preserving another small piece of our beautiful town,” stated Historical Society President Robert Kessler.

            “A special thanks to Legislator Kate Browning for all her dedication to the environment,” stated South Yaphank Civic Association President Johan McConnell. “The protection of this parcel is another example of her listening to the residents and responding to the issues that matter.”

            “The Yaphank Community is extremely grateful for Legislator Browning's efforts,” stated Chad Trusnovec, President of the Yaphank and Taxpayers Civic Association. “Because of this, another piece of environmentally sensitive land will forever remain protected.”
            “This preservation broadens the protection efforts underway to safeguard the Carmans River Watershed and our ground water,” stated Sharon Wiesmann, a Yaphank resident who owns property adjacent to the Carmans Rivers’ Upper Lake. “The preservation of this property is a remarkable illustration of the ability of all involved to protect this precious environment in our area. We applaud and thank Legislator Browning for recognizing the importance and for making this land preservation come to fruition.”
            The bill is still awaiting the signature of County Executive Levy.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Better Late Than Never - Hurricane Irene Views

Hurricane Irene, Brookhaven Hamlet, NY, 27-28 Aug 2011
Some Views of Brookhaven Hamlet Following Irene,
27-28 August, 2011
Hurricane Irene, by the time it made landfall on Long Island, had been downgraded to a tropical storm—that is, less than a category 1 hurricane.  Rarely did wind gusts exceed 50-60 mph in our area.  While there was some coastal flooding, in Brookhaven it did not much exceed that of other major coastal storms we have experienced in recent times.  The major effect was the widespread loss of electrical power, although many sections of the hamlet did not lose their power.  For those who did lose power, it was out for around 3½ days, less than for Hurricane Gloria.  The eye of storm was in New Jersey to the west of us.  Unlike other areas affected by the storm, rainfall was not a major factor.
Town and County emergency management authorities issued "mandatory" evacuation orders for most of Brookhaven hamlet—"all that area south of South Country road."  Even given what was known of the storm at the time these decisions had to be made, most residents felt this order was greatly excessive.  Except for those with health or physical disabilities, or convenient alternate residences, most seemed to have stayed.   I was particularly disturbed by one press conference, where county and town authorities were calling for these evacuations to see the mandatory posed  "staff" in the background apparently telling jokes to each other—this while senior citizens were trying to decide what to do.  It's not as if we who live on the coast were making recklessly uninformed decisions.  The time to education the public is not a few panicked hours before a perceived disaster, but rather through regular communication of emergency protocols based on rational planning models.  See, for example, the Flood and Surge maps this site. 
By 11 am Sunday, the storms winds had greatly subsided and folks emerged from their homes to see the results.  This was near the time of high tide in our area, and this combined with the residual winds was still pushing water onshore.  It appeared as if the water in the Carmans river and Beaver Dam creek was 5, perhaps 6, feet above normal.  These estimates are confirmed by where observed water levels reached when compared with the land elevations recorded on the Suffolk County land use information maps.
Click image for enlarged view.

Beaver Dam road at Beaver Dam creek., looking east.

249 Beaver Dam road

249 Beaver Dam road, looking west toward Beaver Dam creek
(you may be able to faintly see the Champlain cottage on the banks of the creek)

Fire Place Ln. looking west toward Beaver Dam Creek & the Fire Place (Gould's) marina

River Lane
River Lane runs parallel to Beaver Dam Creek

18 River Lane

Brookhaven resident Marty Van Lith works at righting tree in his backyard.

East end, Beaver Dam road, looking east toward the Carman's river and Squassux Landing
The elevation at this point, according to the Suffolk County land use map, is five feet.
Water was still rising, perhaps to another eight inches.

365 Beaver Dam road.

Tree limb at 12 Locust road pulls down electrical wires.
Power was out for 3½ days.

These houses, on Ocean Place, are the only home which face directly on the Great South Bay,
This picture, taken Monday, shows sand washed onto the street in front of the houses.
The day before, this area was completely flooded.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

FW: CCE Event Alert: Meeting on Landfill/Compost with Brookhaven Supervisor

From: CCE Member Communication []
Sent: Friday, September 16, 2011 11:35 AM
To: CCE Members and Friends
Subject: CCE Event Alert: Meeting on Landfill/Compost with Brookhaven Supervisor

View this message as a webpage.
Citizens Campaign for the Environment.


Save the Date!
Meeting on Landfill/Compost with Brookhaven Supervisor

Aerial image of the Brookhaven Town Landfill.

Brookhaven Community Coalition and Supervisor Lesko to discuss landfill and LI Compost issues

Brookhaven Community Coalition will be holding a meeting with Supervisor Lesko and the "Landfill Liaison Committee" to address concerns about the landfill and Long Island Compost facility.

All emergency responders, BCC members, and residents are encouraged to attend.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Plan for closing the landfill
  • Pending results of tests on radiation found at/near the Long Island Compost facility
  • Rescinding the DEC variance to enclose Long Island Compost
  • Increased odors throughout the community from the landfill and Long Island Compost

When: Wednesday, September 21, 2011, 7:30pm
Where: Brookhaven Fire District, 2486 Montauk Highway, Brookhaven, NY

If you plan to attend, RSVP to:

Thank you for joining us. We hope to see you there!



Image of CCE staff.

Citizens Campaign for the Environment

225A Main Street
Farmingdale, NY 11735
Phone: 516-390-7150 | Fax: 516-390-7160
6 Regional Offices in New York and Connecticut


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