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North Hempstead proposes legislation to regulate concrete plants

North Hempstead's proposed legislation aims to address problems

North Hempstead's proposed legislation aims to address problems the surfaced when officials said they discovered that a storm-water pipe in New Cassel was clogged with concrete. Flooding damaged the town's Yes We Can Community Center. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

North Hempstead officials have proposed legislation to better regulate concrete recycling plants, a year after Nassau County officials said one plant had “illegally dumped” cement into a storm-water pipe in New Cassel.

Concrete recycling facilities, the bulk of which in North Hempstead are clustered in industrial sections of New Cassel and Westbury, would have to enclose their operations and add measures to reduce the harsh crushing sound heard by nearby residents under the legislation.

The dumping created a legal battle between the town and county over who was responsible for its cleanup.

“The goal is to make sure that the concrete users are compliant, and are functioning in a way that does not harm our environment, or the environment of the neighbors that live nearby,” North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth said in an interview. “We’ve been looking at some of the entities at the industrial park and we want to make sure they are doing what they can to protect the air and the surrounding areas for all who live nearby.”

The legislation will be discussed at a public hearing Tuesday before the North Hempstead Town Board.

North Hempstead Councilwoman Viviana Russell said the proposal also aims to prevent runoff from entering the street and would limit the amount of materials that “come off-site into the public roadway.”

According to the proposed law, crushing operations must occur in an enclosed building and have sound-reduction measures to prevent noise levels from exceeding 90 decibels at the property line, and 65 decibels at the property line of the nearest home, school, hospital or house of worship.

The law also requires plant operators to adopt air quality, street cleaning and dust control measures. Requirements include forcing properties to be swept and cleaned daily; covering trucks that deliver recycled concrete to and from the plant; and banning crushing activities from occurring past 6:30 p.m. on weekdays and past 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

The proposal also requires that plants add rumble strips to facility exits.

North Hempstead officials said they discovered last year that a storm-water pipe under Rushmore Street in New Cassel was clogged with concrete. Town officials said they worked to remove the cement, which cost the town $100,000, before realizing the pipe was owned by Nassau County. Flooding damaged the town-operated Yes We Can Community Center.

The town and county have sparred over the issue. Nassau County Department of Public Works spokeswoman Mary Studdert said in 2015 that the town had “failed to enforce” its own storm-water runoff law, which bans the release of concrete into the wastewater stream.

Town spokeswoman Rebecca Cheng said, “the initial expenditure of $100,000 was for the emergency work and after that the county acknowledged that it was their pipe and took over the project.”

The proposed town legislation had been retooled since it was introduced earlier this year.

Russell said she had met with members of concrete recycling firms who said the town should not require walls to be added to the plants as a way to reduce the crushing sounds.

Mary Studdert, a spokeswoman for the Nassau County Department of Public Works, said it would cost Nassau County about $3.8 million to repair the pipe.

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