Authorities identified nine illegal dumping sites on Long Island and in neighboring regions and issued nearly 200 tickets last week as part of a two-day crackdown on illegal waste haulers.
The clampdown on illegal dumping of contaminated construction and demolition debris took place Feb. 15 and 16 throughout Long Island, Mid-Hudson Valley and the five boroughs. Twenty-eight truck drivers were ticketed and 167 additional tickets were issued for various misdemeanors and safety violations, authorities said. The operation included Department of Environmental Conservation officers, State police, the Department of Transportation, and Suffolk County police.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office announced the results of the operation on Monday but did not clarify where the nine dumping sites are located.
“New York is a leader in environmental protection and we will continue to do all that we can to keep toxic waste and debris from being dumped in our communities,” Cuomo said in a statement.
The illegal disposing of contaminated construction and demolition debris is worrisome because they can contain asbestos, treated lumber, petroleum products, roofing shingles or soil from previously contaminated areas, officials said.
For Long Island especially there’s concern that such toxins could seep into the region’s vulnerable underground aquifers, LI’s sole source of drinking water.
The violations ranged from operating a solid waste management facility without a permit and allowing illegal emission violations. Ten vehicles were put out of service due to serious safety violations.
New York State DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said the two-day operation was the first of several targeted crackdowns that are in the works.
“Those who break New York’s environmental laws to help pad their profits are putting our groundwater at risk, and threatening the quality of our health and environment,” Seggos said in a statement.
Dumping scandals on LI are not new. Several people connected to the disposal of about 50,000 tons of toxic debris at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood three years ago have been convicted, including former Islip Parks Commissioner Joseph Montuori Jr. Aside from criminal convictions and political fallout, the scandal cost Islip Town $3 million to remediate. The probe led to the discovery of other contaminated sites in Suffolk County.