Wednesday, October 26, 2011


From: Sharon - Brookhaven Community Coalition []
Sent: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 6:16 PM


For immediate release:
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

For more information contact:

Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, 516-390-7150 



Farmingdale, NY – Today, Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) and the Brookhaven Community Coalition celebrate a landmark victory after the NYSDEC announced they are have issued a modification  to Long Island Compost’s permit.   After a thorough and thoughtful permit review the DEC is revoking the variance given to Long Island Compost/Great Gardens to operate an open air facility at the Yaphank location. For too long, nearby residents have suffered from strong odors and particulate matter emanating from Long Island Compost and the nearby Brookhaven Town landfill. The enclosure of LIC  is an enormous leap forward in giving the people of Brookhaven back what they deserve; the right to breathe clean air, watch their children play outdoors, and have a quality of life comparable to other areas on Long Island.

This victory comes after a diverse group of stakeholders including CCE, Brookhaven Fire Department, Brookhaven Fire District, Yaphank Taxpayers and Civic Organization, South Yaphank Civic, Brookhaven Village Association, South Country Ambulance Company and more, joined to address the environmental, public health, and quality of life issues in southern Brookhaven. For months, the groups met with local and state elected officials and agencies to address concerns that the facility was not operating within their permit allowance and should have never been given the exemption to operate in an unenclosed facility.  On August 11, the group authored a letter and formally requested the DEC to take this action.   CCE and the BCC are delighted and heartened by the DEC decision.

Other stipulations of the modified permit include:

-          All processing, tipping, storing, storage, and compaction areas must now be located within an enclosed building.

-          Limit the on-site storage of wood and/or mulch… which requires storage pile size restrictions, time limits, and cover requirements for processed or unprocessed materials.

-          Prohibit the on-site storage of compost products that are not completely cured or matured.

-          Mandate the facility to submit a written narrative and site plan delineating all activities conducted within the Great Gardens LLC and Long Island Compost Corporation properties, a schedule for implementation of the enclosure requirements and an updated Part 360 Operations and Maintenance Manual. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Newsday article LI Compost "Deal"

From: Sharon - Brookhaven Community Coalition []
Sent: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 9:43 AM
Subject: Newsday article LI Compost "Deal"

Deal aims to cut Yaphank landfill odor

Originally published: October 11, 2011 9:55 PM
Updated: October 11, 2011 10:11 PM

Photo credit: Randee Daddona | Charles Vigliotti, chief executive of Long Island Compost stands in front of a mountain of compost on company grounds in Yaphank. His company is providing the compost for trees being planted at the 9/11 Memorial. (Oct. 29, 2010)

An agreement to slash intake of grass clippings to Long IslandCompost in Yaphank will hopefully address years of neighborhood complaints about the odor from the site, officials said Tuesday.

State Sen. Lee Zeldin and Assemb. Dean Murray announced they reached an agreement with operators of LI Compost to reduce by 90 percent the intake of grass clippings, a main source of stench during decomposition.

"There obviously have been a lot of groups and community residents who have been very concerned about the odor, and this responsiveness is the next step in reducing the complaints," said Zeldin (R-Shirley).

Neighbors of the compost site have complained of stench and dust emanating from the facility, as well as from the nearby BrookhavenTown landfill.

"It's great to show that they are willing to work with us and the community, and try to be good neighbors," said Murray (R-East Patchogue). "This is a step for them to move their business in a different direction."

The compost site will no longer accept 35,000 tons of grass clippings shipped from another Long Island town, which LI Compost president Charles Vigliotti declined to identify. "It was a voluntary act on our part, recognizing that there was some legitimate concerns," Vigliotti said.

He expects revenue loss of more than $1 million a year, though the 62-acre facility will continue to accept a "small" amount of clippings from local landscapers. "It's a recognition that we want to be good neighbors," Vigliotti said.

Local environmentalist Adrienne Esposito, who is a member of the landfill-focused BrookhavenCommunity Coalition and has called for enclosing the open-air compost site, said it is an important but small step in the right direction.

"While it's good news, it's far from what we need to rectify the problem," Esposito said. "The problem is inundation of odors and dust and nuisance issues and public health issues."

She said mulch and decomposing yard waste are also sources of odor; and completely enclosing the compost site is the best way to combat the impact on surrounding neighborhoods.

Vigliotti said the rest of the LI Compost operations were not affected.

"We're here to stay," he said. "We perform a critical environmental and quasi-municipal function, but we do recognize the fact that ours is an industrial operation and you have to be forever cognizant of the impacts."

The site's last scheduled delivery of grass clippings is Saturday.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sept 21, 2011 BCC/LLC Meeting Minutes

From: Tara Bono <>
Date: September 30, 2011 11:09:18 AM EDT
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;
Subject: Brookhaven Community Coalition Meeting Minutes

Brookhaven Community Coalition – Landfill Liaison Committee Meeting (BCC/LLC)

Wednesday September 21, 2011

Commissioner Mike Verni commenced the meeting with a pledge of allegiance and then introductions. s

Marty Van Lith briefed all on the background and current undertakings of the BCC/LLC and history of the Landfill.

Adrienne Esposito explained why all are in attendance tonight; to address the landfill and compost issues in the Town. Two main goals of the BCC are to 1. Close the landfill early and 2. Rescind the compost variance to get it enclosed. She cited examples from across the country which are similar in size to LIC that are enclosed and successful.

At the request of Commissioner Verni, Adrienne read the letter to the Commissioner from Joe Williams, Suffolk County. The letter provided information on how and where emergency responders to the 2010 compost fire should get tested. SUNY Stony Brook Medical Center will be providing testing to emergency responders. The letter also stated that the County is currently developing a list of contaminated properties to share with fire districts so they may be prepared going into fires.

Adrienne announced the new campaign "If You Smell Something, Say Something" and passed out signs and magnets to community members with the phone number for the DEC odor complaint hotline.

Commissioner Verni introduced Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko, Brian Bendenbender and Matt Miner. Supervisor Lesko thanked firefighters and emergency responders and gave an update on Landfill and Compost. He mailed a letter to DEC Commissioner Martens asking him to consider BCC’s concerns. He stated that he urged Regional Director Peter Scully to be aggressive and to do a top to bottom review of the facility. He clarified that the Town’s responsibilities at the LIC are limited to height, width, spacing of piles as well as noise and odor. He said he was in the middle of the fire last year and may also get tested at SUNY Stony Brook medical center for exposure to radioactivity. He gave a list of the complaints and the Towns response to recent events at LIC. One event in August, Code Enforcement shut down operations after a noise complaint. Another noise complaint on September 14 was responded to, but no noise was occurring when workers arrived. On September 13, Fire Marshalls did an unexpected visit and found that the height and width were in compliance. The Supervisor said he met with the owner of the facility and requested that he install poles to determine the proper height of the piles and he seemed pretty open to it. As far as radioactivity, he said that they were in contact with the County and are waiting on the results. The County Health Department told Supervisor Lesko that based on preliminary findings, there are no health risks.

Adrienne asked him to clarify. Based on what? What are the levels? She asked if that meant that the test results found no radionuclides nor manganese. Supervisor responded that he didn’t know and the question would have to be asked at the County level – suggested that they and the DEC are present at future meetings to answer questions.

The supervisor also clarified some concerns regarding sludge at the landfill. He said the Town will not take in anymore sludge – it is no longer permitted, and it is a done deal.

Matthew Miner, Waste Management, Brookhaven responded to the complaints that the odors recently have been worse than usual. He said this is because they are beginning to do the capping of 15 acres of the landfill and to do this, there has been some cutting occurring. This process causes odors to escape. The cutting process is near completion and they don’t plan to do more in the foreseeable future. As far as the plastic bag issue, the Town has notified all C&D vendors that the products are unacceptable and they must change, or the Town will revoke their privileges. He also said that because the next section of cell 6 is being built in a different location, there will not be a big issue of odors because of the wind.

Supervisor also updated the BCC on the status of the Solar Panel RFP. They’ve hired TRC as the energy consultant and are looking at 10-15 sites including the landfill, Town Hall, car ports, etc. to install solar pv. RFP to go out in early October. He also wanted to let everyone know that he’s still working on getting a ‘one-stop-shop’ phone number for the Town, County, and DEC. He is looking into other options on how to increase Town revenue, to plan for the landfill closure. He said they welcome discussion on funding options. One possibility is reconstruction of Town government so they are not so dependent on the landfill for income. One option would be for BCC to get it on the ballot and let the people decide. Right now, about 40-45% of the Town’s revenue comes from the landfill.

The meeting was opened up for questions.

Rob Deshler asked about the DEC letter from the Supervisor. He told the Supervisor that he didn’t actually state his position in the letter – why? Supervisor Lesko responded that he wants to wait until the DEC tells him what to do, and that he does not "throw bombs." He will work with the DEC Commissioner and Regional Director and will not make decisions without all information. He also said that because the variance would only force them to cover a portion of the site, that doesn’t cover the whole problem.

Marty pointed out that many other elected officials have written support to implementing regulatations on compost. We need local Government support for DEC to go in and regulate, who can’t right now because their hands are tied. He told the Supervisor "we need your help."

Adrienne said that they were never made to comply to the consent order issued years ago and should have been. She explained that the BCC wasn’t "throwing bombs", it is a legitimate request and they never should have gotten a variance in the first place. She expressed strong disagreement that a community fighting back shouldn’t be mischaracterized in such a derogatory fashion. We DO need to tell the DEC what the community needs, not wait to be told how things work.

Supervisor Lesko said that is not what he does. The decision is under the jurisdiction in which it lies.

Mark pointed out that the issue of garbage in the roads that was discussed at the last LLC meeting has still not been addressed. Even today, if you drove around, the roads are full of litter and there are stronger odors – just getting worse.

Supervisor Lekso responded that he purpose of the LLC is to have a productive conversation, not throw around accusations. He said that no other Supervisor has done what he has done and he expects these meetings to be constructive.

Commissioner Verni pointed out that it was the Supervisor who asked for the meeting at the fire house with emergency responders present. Supervisor Lekso agreed this was true, but said he does not appreciate being on the receiving end of accusations. He said he wants to identify then solve the problems.

John O’Hara from the Brookhaven Industrial Group said that this administration did not bring these companies here, but they are dealing with them. The County is now trying to sell the old Grucci plant into several different plots, but there is a plume under that property. Potential buyers did groundwater testing and consequentially backed out of purchasing the land when they found levels of alpha and beta. He said that there are few industrial things in the area that may be the source of the problem. Adrienne corrected him and said that we do know the source of the radioactivity is the LI compost. We will be able to look closer at all levels when the data is released.

Resident Jim stressed the horrible odors living downwind from the landfill – can’t go outside, enjoy the BBQ or pool. Poor quality of life.

Art Governale asked if anyone knows of any health agencies that have done blood tests. Stated knowledge of "Aspergillus Niger" found in blood of those sickened by compost exposure. (This is a fungus known commonly as black mold.) Mr. Governale also asked if the people at the landfill thought to cover it every day and cited examples of daily cover in Mass. Matt Miner responded that they do use alternative daily cover – over 300,000 tons a year as an alternative to sand.

Jeffery Davis from the Middle Island Fire Department stated that he is happy to hear Suffolk County will be offering testing. He wouldn’t have known about the issues around the compost if he didn’t pick up the paper at all. He said the Town/County should have contacted them by now about it. He pointed out that you can’t test until you know what to test for. Suggested holding a meeting with other fire departments. Adrienne agreed that another meeting should be held when the data comes out.

Mike Brown asked if there is anything you can do with burning methane to help on rainy days when it is the worst? Matt Miner responded; yes, that is why we are capping the 15 acres – it helps with control. The more gas they pull out, the less in the community.

Supervisor Lesko wanted to stress the importance of recycling. He said we need to increase recycling rates to record highs and possibly go to single stream recycling.

Johan McConnel mentioned that the Town Composting Committee made recommendations but there was never a resolution to accept them. They have not gone anywhere, we should revisit those. Supervisor Lesko says there was a report from the Committee Chair; Councilwoman Kepert. He said they were accepted, but the issue got tied up in the Manorville Facility. This is an action item for the LLC.

Chris Roseyt address the July 2010 fire. He said black soot was everywhere around his house for months. He asked if testing was only available to the emergency responders, or if residents could get tested also. The Town/County will look into that. He also asked if it was possible to monitor and limit the inventory of the compost facility. Supervisor Lesko responded that mulch isn’t regulated by DEC. Adrienne pointed out that there are other models that are 100% enclosed. Supervisor Lesko asked for a list of facilities.

Claire Goad asked how many inches of Landfill cover were used every day. Matt Miner responded that ash and alternate daily cover are enough to cover the C&D. Don’t have daily numbers.

Don Seubert suggested that the Town should include mandatory enclosure to the Town Code. Supervisor will look into this.

Mark Knowles said there has been exponential growth for 17 years, and asked how it can continue to grow. How high will it get? Which percent is recyclable? Why wasn’t the sludge tested? Supervisor Lesko said there was absolutely no health risk whatsoever, it was an odor issue. He said there were no haz-mat suits.

Resident Malcolm corrected the Supervisor on his statement that no Supervisor has done what he has done. Malcolm said "Jim Hyle sat where you sat." He said he used to fly over the dump every day and he noticed that everything to the south of it began dying. The leachate destroyed the community. He said there should be fines for people who don’t do what they are supposed to do. He said that more people showed up to the BCC meeting than did to the Town Board meeting the evening before – shows people care. He asked if the Supervisor was going to continue threatening business owners with jail time if they didn’t pay the new fees. The Supervisor said it is a new state mandated requirement – he must enforce it.

Ronnie asked if all the hurricane debris has been burned. Town responded not yet – there is a plan to chip and burn all by October 1. He asked if the landfill is needed for revenue, why isn’t the empire zone taxed? The Supervisor said the empire zone doesn’t exist anymore, but some companies still enjoy tax abatements to keep them here and to supply jobs. Many of them pay partial taxes.

Robert Dorsey addressed the noise issue. He said when we call, they come, but the problem is that at night, the gates are locked and workers can’t get in. Supervisor was not aware of this, will talk to code enforcement – they need to be able to get in.

Supervisor Lesko concluded that he sees this coalition as a positive entity. He relates to the emergency responders and there needs to be a clear protocol to provide service. He urges all in attendance to stay involved with the coalition, they can get you the info you need.


Tara Bono

Program Coordinator

Citizens Campaign for the Environment

225a Main Street, Farmingdale, NY 11735

(516) 390-7150

Long Island 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.