Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Foul stench and falling ash plague area from debris from Sandy


Neighbors say a foul stench and falling ash have plagued their area since the local landfill began burning debris from Sandy

By Greg Cergol
Tuesday, Dec 18, 2012  |  Updated 9:49 PM EST

NBC 4 New York

Debris from Sandy is raising a possible health concern on Long Island, where the material is being burned and setting off worries that residents are breathing in unsafe air. Greg Cergol reports.

Residents living around a 500-acre landfill in Suffolk County have demanded an end to the burning of downed trees and branches from Sandy.

According to lifelong Yaphank resident Kathleen Scheibel, a foul stench and falling ash have plagued her neighborhood a mile and a quarter from the landfill since the burning began last month.

"It's a wood-burning smell tinged with garbage," Scheibel said. "The other day, I was driving home and I thought it was snowing. To think we're breathing this in -- it's hard to swallow."

Four so-called fire boxes have been burning storm debris 24 hours a day since early November, according to Brookhaven town officials. The debris is being trucked to the landfill from Brookhaven and at least four other towns as part of an emergency plan implemented by the town, Suffolk County and New York's Department of Environmental Conservation.

But according to activist Adrienne Esposito of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, the plan has sickened some and put everyone in the surrounding communities at risk.

"We don't want to solve the debris problem by creating a public health threat," said Esposito.

In response to the community's concerns, Suffolk county has installed three air monitoring systems around the landfill.

"Since we have begun the monitoring, particulate levels are well below the allowable limit," said a spokesperson for Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Brookhaven's new town supervisor is monitoring the air quality findings and deciding whether to halt the burning. According to Edward Romaine, the burning began before he took office last month.

"I know we have a problem with debris, but the public's health and safety comes first," said Romaine.

Romaine has ordered that other Long Island towns halt the transfer of storm debris to the Brookhaven landfill. Stopping the burning could create a bigger regional problem: Trucking the debris off Long Island would be very expensive, Romaine said. Mulching or chipping the debris could take decades.

In fact, the supervisor said, Brookhaven has only just completed the mulching of debris from Hurricane Gloria, 27 years ago.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

FW: Demand Removal of Air Quality Destructors Today!

From: Tara Bono []
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 2:49 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Demand Removal of Air Quality Destructors Today!


Citizens Campaign for the Environment
Action Alert

URGENT: Call TODAY, Demand Removal of Air Quality Destructors at the Brookhaven Landfill

Four Incinerators Located at the Brookhaven Landfill are Polluting Our  Air and Causing Public Health Concerns

If you think you have recently seen it rain ash or snow at night in Brookhaven, you are not far from wrong.  Massive brush burning at Brookhaven Landfill is the source.

FEMA has provided Suffolk County with 4 Air Curtain Destructors (AKA Air Quality Destroyers).  These small but powerful incinerators are here to burn wood and vegetated debris from Sandy.  But they produce fine particulate matter that is spreading over Brookhaven residents. Fine particulate matter causes damage to our lungs, heart and respiratory systems.

They need to be shut down and removed - we need your help today!

Monitoring results from a November EPA pilot program in Brooklyn, at a location that used one of these incinerators, shows one unit can produce 24.24 micrograms of fine particulate matter. Four units in one location could far exceed the EPA’s health-based standard for fine particles! This is unacceptable, especially in a community that has already been overburdened by Long Island’s waste management crisis.


Take Action Now!
Make four quick phone calls to critical leaders on the Federal, State, County, and Town levels and demand that the incinerators be shut down immediately. Your phone calls are very important, and every single one counts. Your help is urgently needed today!

o   Congressman Tim Bishop: (631) 289-6500

o   DEC Regional Director Peter Scully: (631) 444-0345

o   Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone: (631) 853-4000

o   Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine: (631) 451-9100

Phone call tips:

  1. State your name and address.
  2. Tell them how incinerators at Brookhaven Landfill are destroying air quality and making people sick!
  3. Demand that they take action immediately to remove the incinerators.

And, please remember to send us a quick email letting us know you took action and how it went.

Thank you for taking action. Together we make a difference!


Your Friends at CCE

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

Connect with Us

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Tara Bono
Program Coordinator
Citizens Campaign for the Environment
225a Main Street, Farmingdale, NY 11735
(516) 390-7150
“Start with one step. However small, the first step is hardest of all.”

Saturday, December 1, 2012

New Old Inlet Information Meeting

                                   Join in on an exchange of perspectives
                                      regarding the breach at Old Inlet   

                                         Saturday, Dec. 1 at 1:20 pm      
                                      Bellport Village Community Center   
                                                4 Bell Street             
                                             Bellport, NY 11713           

                                               Guest Speakers             

                                     Christopher Soller,  Superintendent  
                                        Fire Island National Seashore     

                                   Mr. Soller will  provide a brief update
                                   of the Seashore's involvement in the   
                                   implementation of a 1997 multi-agency  
                                   Breach Contingency Plan (BCP). This    
                                   plan calls for the immediate filling of
                                   breaches on Fire Island which do not   
                                   occur in federally-designated          
                                   wilderness. For a breach within the    
                                   Otis Pike Fire Island High Dune        
                                   Wilderness, a more conservative        
                                   response is prescribed,and includes    
                                   inter-agency monitoring of the behavior
                                   of the breach, while initially allowing
                                   it to close naturally. If the breach is
                                   determined to have adverse impacts on  
                                   water levels in surrounding            
                                   communities, it will be closed         
                                   immediately. Supt. Soller will share   
                                   data gathered by the National Park     
                                   Service and partner agencies at the    
                                   breach at Old Inlet. FINS              

                                    Kevin McAllister, President, Peconic  

                                   Mr. McAllister, president of Peconic   
                                   Baykeepers, will provide a perspective
                                   with regard to the ecological          
                                   advantages of additional sustained flow
                                   between the ocean and Great South Bay.
                                   Peconic Baykeeper is the only          
                                   independent not-for-profit advocate    
                                   solely dedicated to the protection and
                                   improvement of the aquatic ecosystems  
                                   of Peconic and South Shore estuaries of
                                   Long Island. As sprawl development     
                                   continues to harden the island's       
                                   landscape, pollution  threatens the    
                                   vitality and health of our bays. Their
                                   recovery depends on kinds of           
                                   enlightened costal management policies
                                   and responsible development practices  
                                   that can be adopted when citizens and  
                                   communities are informed and engaged in
                                   decision making.                       

                                        Charlie Flagg, Ph.D, Research     
                                       Professor, School of Marine and    
                                    Atmospheric Sciences(SoMAS) at Stony  
                                                 Brook SoMA               

                                   Prof. Flagg will share his perspective
                                   as a research scientist and will       
                                   provide a slide presentation of images
                                   of the breach at Old Inlet taken during
                                   his numerous observation flights over  
                                   the area. Mr. Flagg has been studying  
                                   the circulation of the costal lagoons  
                                   of southern Long Island using a        
                                   combination of numerical modeling and  
                                   observation. Currently, he is looking  
                                   at the impact that breaches in Fire    
                                   Island might have on circulation, sea  
                                   level, and salinity distribution in    
                                   Great South Bay. Pof. Flagg will share
                                   data collected at the Bellport marina  
                                   and by the SoMAS research buoy in Great
                                   South Bay that show some noticeable    
                                   changes since Sandy.                   

                                     Joseph Gagliano, Chairman, Bellport  
                                        Village Waterfront Commission     

                                   Mr. Gagliano will share his perspective
                                   as it relates to the actual effects    
                                   being experienced along the Bellport   
                                   Village shoreline post Sandy. Bellport
                                   Village lies directly opposite the     
                                   breach on Fire Island less then two    
                                   miles away.                            

                                         Additional guests include:       

                                   Representatives from shoreline         
                                   communities, municipalities, and       
                                   organizations who will share their     
                                   perspectives with regard to the actual
                                   effects that the breach is having on   
                                   the shoreline post Sandy.              

                                   Shoreline residents and property owners
                                   are urged to attend and will have an   
                                   opportunity to share their perspectives
                                   during the public comment period.      

                                   Please arrive 15 minutes early if you  
                                   wish to sign up for the public comment

Michael S. Bilecki
Chief, Natural Resources Management
Fire Island National Seashore
Ph (631)687-4760
Cell (516)805-3362
Fax (631) 289-4898

Friday, November 23, 2012

Newsday: Monday's BCC meeting with Ed Romaine

Romaine takes in group's landfill concerns

Published: November 23, 2012 7:47 PM

Brookhaven Town Supervisor-elect Ed Romaine said this week that he is not interested in increasing the Yaphank landfill's height and wants to minimize its environmental impact, but stopped short of laying out an organized plan.

"Obviously, the landfill is a concern," he said this week to the Brookhaven Community Coalition -- a group formed to help the town decide on the landfill's future -- in his first public address since being elected.

About 50 people attended the meeting Monday night at the Brookhaven firehouse to discuss the landfill and the Long Island Compost facility.

Romaine, who remains a Suffolk County legislator until he is sworn in Monday afternoon in Town Hall in Farmingville, said he wants to gather a group of experts to draft an alternative waste-management future with a regional approach. But he didn't expand on his comments.

Asked for further details after the meeting on decreasing what residents call bad odors and the harmful impact on Yaphank, Romaine replied, "Solid waste management, I have some general idea, but that's why you get experts, to give you options."

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment and a member of the coalition, said the group is also concerned about the landfill and compost facility taking on more debris and material after superstorm Sandy.

"We understand it, but we're not happy with Brookhaven always being the sacrificial lamb," she said.

The 270-foot-high landfill, which brings in about $45 million in annual revenue to the cash-strapped town, is expected to reach capacity in about 15 years. Former town Supervisor Mark Lesko had proposed increasing the height of the landfill to keep that money flowing, a plan that met with community opposition.

After meeting with financial advisers hours before the meeting, Romaine concluded, "The town is in a financial free-fall."

The town has relied on its $49 million surplus to cover an annual deficit of about $6 million to $16 million and to balance its budget in recent years after declining revenue from real estate taxes and the loss of some landfill contracts.

"Relying on the landfill will have dire consequences to Brookhaven Town," Romaine said.

Jim Leskowicz, former captain of the Brookhaven Fire Department and active community member, said the landfill is a deep concern.

"To live around the landfill is horrible, and as a firefighter to go up there and fight fires is even worse," he said.

Yaphank resident Eileen Losee attended the meeting to find out more about the negative environmental effects of the landfill.

"Yaphank is being dumped on!" she said. "I would like to see it close."

Monday, November 19, 2012

New Old Inlet breach to be closed?

Schumer to push for Fire Island breach to be closed

Originally published: November 19, 2012 9:01 AM
Updated: November 19, 2012 9:23 AM

Photo credit: DEC | Breaches at the Moriches Inlet and Smith Point County Park. (Nov. 3, 2012)

During a Monday morning news conference in Patchogue, Sen.Charles E. Schumer plans to push the National Park Service to close a breach in a Fire Island National Seashore wilderness area that was caused when superstorm Sandy roared ashore Oct. 29.

The Army Corps of Engineers is expected to begin closing two breaches at Smith Point County Park and Cupsogue County Park inSuffolk County Monday.

The National Park Service is currently assessing whether to close the park breach, which is south of Bellport.

Fire Island is a barrier beach and keeps ocean tides from pouring into Great South Bay.

Schumer has said allowing the third breach to stay open will put South shore communities at risk of more flooding. With equipment in the area closing the other breaches, Schumer believes the time is right.

In a news release Friday announcing the closure of the other two breaches, state Department of Environmental ConservationCommissioner Joe Martens said: "A barrier island breach can result in higher tides and storm surges for bay-side communities which expose them to increased flood hazard through the winter storm season."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Opens "new" Old Inlet across Fire Island

Brookhaven hamlet is separated f Between Brookhaven hamlet and Fire Island is the the Great South Bay.  On Fire Island directly opposite Brookhaven hamlet and the village of Bellport is a section of beach known as "Old Inlet."  Between 1763-1827, this area had a wide inlet from the bay to the ocean.  This inlet was important in the establishment of Bellport as a minor seaport.  In about 1827, it closed up, apparently due to a ship becoming grounded in it.  During the worst storms, minor ocean wash-over sometimes occurs in the region, running to the bay.  And apparently, it has opened as a minor inlet several times since 1827, but mother nature quickly closed it up.

This 2 mile stretch of Fire Island is one of the flattest areas of Fire Island. While Old Inlet was never a community, it was a private bathing beach called The Old Inlet Club, which members used for ocean swimming and occasional picnics. It had a dock and a picnic shelter similar to the one at Bellport Beach. There was a dock on the bay and a winding boardwalk to the Ocean. Along the way were a small set of bath houses where beach goers could change their clothing and shower with cold, fresh water.

This section of Fire Island is part of the Fire Island National Seashore.

During Hurricane Sandy, a new Old Inlet opened up.  Folks familiar with the area indicate that it is the most substantial opening in their memory.  As of Sunday, November 11, 2012, it was still wide open with no signs of closing.

This video shows the new Old Inlet shortly after the storm from a boat on the bay, said to be one of the first visitors to the area after the storm.   The video has been widely circulated throughout the community, but I have not been able to determine the actual photographer or when specifically it was taken.

The following photo was taken by Charles Flagg, a physical oceanographer at the State University of New York at Stony Brook on April 2005 showing the Old Inlet area looking north into the Great South Bay, including the dock, board walk and Pelican Island (right of center) (which is the site of the Pattersquash Gun Club). The remnants of the original pre 1827 Old Inlet is the v-shaped cut to the left of the picture. John Boyle Island is off to the right and Ridge Island is to the left.
Old Inlet area before Hurricane Sandy

The next photo was taken by Charles Flagg on Saturday on Saturday, November 3, 2012.  It is a close up shot from the south of the new Old Inlet looking north (the Great South Bay is at the top). This inlet is slightly to the east of the site of the original Old Inlet.  The Old Inlet dock can be seen no longer attached to Fire Island.  Pelican Island, site of the Pattersquash Gun Club, is at the top left, and there are several new sand islands to the north and west. Photo was taken during flood tide.
Aerial view of the new Old Inlet across Fire Island from ocean to the Great South Bay.

This link is a report (pdf) by Charles Flagg.  It is from this report that the above pictures were taken, and it includes additional aerial photographs and a discussion.
This site --The Great South Bay Project -- at SUNY-SB, provides links to YouTube aerial videos of the new inlet site, and other information on the SUNY-SB project.

The following picture is from the National Park Service web site.  While the photograph was undated, the web page was dated 6 November 2012.  Note evidence of dune wash-overs to both the east (right) and west (left) of the inlet.
New Old Inlet.  National Park Service
Picture added 16 November 2012

This link -- Old Inlet and Fire Place Beach Clubs history -- is a local history of the two local beach clubs established in the Old Inlet area.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Brookhaven Hamlet and Hurricane Sandy

Except for a few "swamp rats" down near the Great South Bay and along Beaver Dam creek, most folks in Brookhaven hamlet seemed to have suffered little direct damage from Hurricane Sandy.  A few trees fell on houses, but even then, from what I could see, there was little damage to the structure itself.  However, I did not conduct an extensive survey.  Many trees and large limbs were felled, however.  Large parts of the hamlet had no electrical power at all, although most had their power restored within 2-3 days.  However, many were without hard-wired telephone service and internet services, some with outages that lasted several weeks.  Cell phone service seemed, at first, fairly good--depending our your provider.  But after a couple of powerless days cell phone service mostly failed.  This was particularly troublesome for the elderly and disabled who have come to rely on their cell phones for back-up to the land-line Verizon service.
For the most part, the Town of Brookhaven was surprisingly prompt in removing fallen trees and picking-up debris, the exception seemed to be locations in which the trees were entangled with electrical and other utility wires.  Of special concern was a large tree which fell across Beaver Dam road near the Brookhaven Free Library.  Initially, police closed Beaver Dam road using police tape.  This required a roughly one mile bypass detour to get around it.  But after several days of no action  to clear the tree, folks apparently grew tired of the detour and felt it was safe enough to scoot under the the limb.
Fallen tree limb @ Beaqver Dam road and Library lane
Looking east on Beaver Dam road
Cars passing under fallen tree lim on Beaver Dam road at Library land
Looking west on Beaver Dam road

Brookhaven Community Forum Meeting Monday, November 19, 2012, 7:00pm



From: Tara Bono []
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 11:44 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Brookhaven Community Forum (reminder)



View this message as a webpage.

Citizens Campaign for the

Citizens Campaign for the Environment
Event Alert

Brookhaven Community Coalition (BCC) Community Forum

Image of the Brookhaven

Come meet the Town of Brookhaven's new supervisor and discuss the critical issues of the town landfill and Long Island Compost

From the burdensome Brookhaven Town Landfill to quality of life concerns surrounding the Long Island Compost facility, the BCC has been working throughout the last two years to protect our community's environment and public health. The BCC Executive Board is inviting BCC members to our next meeting. This meeting will provide an update to all attendees on core community issues:

  • DEC permit modification to LI Compost
  • BCC lawsuit against the Town of Brookhaven to oppose increasing the height of the landfill
  • Town non-compliance issues with the landfill permit
  • Groundwater contamination issues – 'Horseblock Road Investigation'

BCC will provide an update, and Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine will speak to the community about how the above issues will be addressed.

When: Monday, November 19, 2012, 7:00pm
Where: Brookhaven Firehouse, 2486 Montauk Highway, Brookhaven, NY

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


Your Friends at CCE

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6 Regional Offices in New York and Connecticut

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From the Swamp Rats: Hurricane Sandy Part 2

The following messages were a second set of images circulated among residents of Brookhaven hamlet by Anita Cohen and Marty Van Lith.  They have been slightly edited including removal of personal information and images which were largely duplicative.  They were posted with their permission. 

Date:  November 14, 2012
Subject: From the swamp rats on River Lane

Dear All,

Tuesday morning, Oct 30, the second flood began. It was not as high as the original storm surge, about a foot lower, but still several inches covered River Lane and still over 3' by the mosquito ditch at the back of our property and still in both garages. 

This is #17 River Lane across the street from us. The owners said the house is totaled. They have to replace virtually everything,- remove floors and walls to the frame, replace all furniture, appliances, electrical, cabinets, etc, (i.e., everything removed to the point where you can see through the house). 
 We have it pretty good compared to others on our street. We all lost our oil burners but it seems our washer, 'fridge and most other stuff still works, theirs does not.  

The second flood tide reached its peak at 11:30 AM. Water had been here for more than 12 hours, there would be at least another 12 hours to go before it all cleared out: 


I turned the power back on but one phase was missing, so some of our house didn't have power. The oil burner repairman was here Tuesday night around 9 PM after the water in the garage receded, the drying out began.  By Wednesday the flood water was mostly gone so that I could survey the damage.

Looking for firewood to help dry out the house:

My neighbor, Raanan, by his front lawn. His house will also be gutted:

Waterline on our house garage door:

Below- the remains of my riding lawnmower. Electrolysis destroyed virtually every connection and the motor was full of water. I think it's RIP for it:

This is #5 River Lane. They didn't waste any time emptying the house:

Here's where some of my lumber landed, about 200 yards north of our house and on another street:

Here's what the end of Bay Road looked like 2 days after the storm:

One of the three houses on Ocean Place (end of Bay Road). I believe this house was undergoing renovations when the storm struck, so I'm not sure how much of this is storm related damage: 

To add insult to injury we had a nor'easter last Thursday that flooded our street with water, snow and ice:

--Shipwrecked Marty