Sunday, February 24, 2013

BCC/Landfill update


From: Kathleen Lacey []
Sent: Sunday, February 24, 2013 12:02 PM

Subject: BCC/Landfill update


Dear Interested parties:


It occurs to me that it has probably been a while since you've been updated on the progress of the BCC. I assure you that even though the press has been fairly quiet, and we have not held a community meeting in about 3 months, the BCC executive committee has been VERY busy with our two main battle fronts: the Town Landfill and Long Island Compost.


As you know, the DEC revoked Long Island Compost's variance to operate an unenclosed facility after we insisted they comply with the terms of their operating permit. Neither the Town nor the DEC had been enforcing a majority of the terms, and they had a history of ignoring neighborhood complaints. It has now been a year and a half since the permit was revoked, and yet LIC continues to operate as if nothing had happened, at least it would appear so to the public.


And yet--things have happened. The executive committee of the BCC has met numerous times over the last 1 1/2 years with Town officials, elected officials, the LIC owners and the DEC. Progress has been frustratingly slow, but after lengthy negotiations and threats of lawsuits, it appears we are very close to an agreement between the BCC, LIC and the DEC to bring the compost facility fully into compliance with their permit. This is a huge victory for us, and for the community, which has suffered overly long from odors, dust, air and goundwater contamination, noise, and other nuisances from LIC. We hope to see a fully enclosed facility, with paved roads to cut down on dust, and a host of other improvements which we will keep you informed of. It is too soon to be too specific, but we are cautiously optimistic.


As for the landfill, we still have all of the issues that plagued us before the Superstorm (except the dumping of sludge which, thanks to you, we were successful at stopping) and now, in the wake of the storm, the problem of how to dispose of storm debris in a way that will not create ill-effects on the community. Despite evidence that burning the vegetative debris in the 4 Air Curtain Destructors that were placed at the landfill would produce smoke and ash that would be not only bothersome but unhealthy, the decision was made to place the incinerators there, as they claimed having no other viable options to deal with such huge volumes of debris. It was only at the Executive Committee's insistence that 3 air monitors were placed in the vicinity, 2 at the landfill itself, and one at the Brookhaven Fire Department. We wanted more -- at Floyd Bennet Field, where they used one or two incinerators (the number is not clear)and had 8 monitors. Those monitors showed the ash and particulate matter to exceed acceptable levels, and the incinerators were shut down. Soon after, the permit to burn at Brookhaven was allowed to expire, and the burning has stopped there also. The BCC foiled the results collected from our 3 monitors 2 months ago, and just received those results last week. The reports are difficult to read, and there is an abundance of information, but the bottom line is that the reports show that there were many periods of time when the air quality was at an unacceptable level. You may have read in the paper that preliminary studies showed acceptable results, but that is only if you average out all the reports. What it doesn't show are the unacceptably high levels that occurred many times over the 2 months the incinerators were in use. We were breathing then too, weren't we? To us it is appalling what they will justify and call acceptable, all in the name of money and politics. 


I made the comparison to measuring wave heights on the ocean. Average wave heights over a year may be only 8 feet, but the average does not show the 50 foot tsunami that wiped out an entire city, or cities. You just don't want to be there when that tsunami comes, just like you don't want to be here when the landfill or LIC is operating and polluting our air, which has gone on and on, not for days or weeks or months, but for years and years. More importantly THIS "tsunami" could have been prevented! We begged them not to use the incinerators and our pleas were ignored.


So, that brings us to now. Tomorrow is the first Landfill Liaison Committee meeting with Romaine since he became Town Supervisor. This meeting should tell us a lot about what we can expect from this administration in the way of cooperation, communication and compliance. Our goals are to set up a timeline and a specific plan for closure and capping of the landfill, to make sure the landfill is operated in compliance with its permits (which prohibit nuisance to the community), and to turn our heads toward the future. Start increasing recycling; set up a "pay to throw" program, as is being done successfully all over the country; find a way to reduce our waste stream. This has been an exhausting process for the Executive Committee, and I know that many of you are impatient and eager to see real results. We believe we are getting there, not as fast as we would ideally like, maybe, but progress IS being made, and I am proud of the people I work with to make this happen and of the community which has shown such concern and support.


We will plan to call another public meeting soon, and I hope you all will come. Meanwhile continue to call the DEC odor hotline with complaints when you have them. 444-0380. It makes a difference.


Talk to you soon. Pass this on.



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