Brookhaven: Air quality OK in Sandy debris burns

The Brookhaven Town landfill is on Horseblock Road

The Brookhaven Town landfill is on Horseblock Road in Yaphank. (July 5, 2007) (Credit: James Carbone )

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine said preliminary analysis indicates that using air curtain destructors to burn large amounts of vegetative debris from superstorm Sandy at the Yaphank landfill poses no immediate health and safety risks.

"It's clear that the people who live near the landfill have been burdened for many years, but I can assure them that their concerns about air quality are not falling on deaf ears," he said in a statement. "The results so far have indicated that there is no immediate danger."

But not everyone is satisfied. "We haven't seen the results and we find the whole testing procedure curious," said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, who asked Romaine for the testing numbers.

The air-quality samples, which Suffolk County measured below dangerous levels recently, were collected at the site with a dust track aerosol monitor, town officials said.

After the storm, the town requested three incinerators from the state Department of Environmental Conservation to help burn vegetative debris.

The DEC agreed to allow the town to use the boxes until Feb. 12 to help dispose of storm debris, and the town also received a fourth fire box for use until Dec. 5.

The town has burned about 5,000 cubic yards of debris every day since receiving the fire boxes, but residents were concerned about the effect on air quality, officials said.

Earlier this month, Romaine asked the county to monitor the air quality to assure residents that the use of the fire boxes "does not pose a health risk to those in the surrounding communities."

Town officials said they are waiting for the county's final results. "We will continue receiving monitoring reports . . . Should the results indicate a health risk, the town will immediately stop using the air curtain boxes," Romaine said.

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