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Long IslandCrime

Melville landfill owner sued over pollutants in air

Federal prosecutors have sued the owner and operator of a Melville landfill that they say "endangered the welfare" of Long Island residents by releasing harmful pollutants into the air.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York Wednesday filed the suit against Chester Broman - owner of the 110 Sand Company - and Broad Hollow Estates for creating dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide at the landfill at 136 Bethpage-Spagnoli Rd.

"The violations alleged in the complaint demonstrate a serious disregard for the environment and for public health and safety," said Benton Campbell, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District.

An attorney representing the defendants did not respond to a request for comment.

According to the suit, the landfill operators accepted wallboard, which contains the mineral gypsum.

Under some conditions, when gypsum decays it can create gases including hydrogen sulfide. At high levels, the gas could cause health complications to those exposed to it, including "shock, convulsions, coma and death," according to federal prosecutors.

The landfill is also accused of creating "substantial amounts" of sulfur dioxide, which can also have negative health effects, federal prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said that, by failing to obtain proper permits and appropriate controls, the landfill violated the federal Clean Air Act.

Campbell said in a statement the defendants "recently installed controls" to prevent harmful emissions. Still, prosecutors want to hold them accountable for multiple past violations. They are seeking fines of $37,500 for every day a violation occurred since the landfill opened in 1981.

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