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Possible cleanup in sight for asbestos found in trailers at Islip Terrace home

Several trailers left on property in Islip Terrace

Several trailers left on property in Islip Terrace contained bags and other materials marked with asbestos warnings. Credit: Johnny Milano

The man renting an Islip Terrace home that contains trailers of asbestos-laden construction waste has reached a tentative agreement with the landlord to examine and potentially cart away the waste, he said Friday.

But Andrew Sirico, who discovered the asbestos and documents showing that it came from MTA construction jobs across New York City, said he has yet to hear from state or local authorities whom he wants to monitor any cleanup from the yard.

"Nobody has been here besides TV people and reporters," said Sirico, whose issues with the potentially toxic waste first appeared in Newsday on Tuesday. Sirico said he has agreed to allow the landlord to open trailers on the property next Tuesday as part of a first step to assess and eventually move the trailers and other waste material. Sirico lives at the home with his three children and pays $2,900 monthly rent.

In response to questions, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said it has been "working with the property owner" and her lawyer, who confirmed that U.S. Environmental Abatement Corp. was "retained to assess the material for removal and disposal."

The DEC said it will "rigorously oversee the proper cleanup of this property to ensure protection of public health and the environment. DEC will determine potential violations upon conclusion of our ongoing investigation."

Sirico said he's yet to hear back from any local authorities. "What's it going to take? Do I have to have mesothelioma?" he said of the aggressive form of cancer caused by asbestos. "I guess no one cares."

It’s unclear whether the Suffolk district attorney’s office, which already has prosecuted environmental crimes under the Operation Pay Dirt banner, is investigating the Islip Terrace debris.

"While it is our office’s policy not to comment on the existence of any open investigations, rest assured that we take environmental crimes extremely seriously," district attorney spokeswoman Sheila Kelly wrote in a statement.

Added Justin Meyers, the DA's chief of staff, "We have received an email from him Thursday and we are taking all appropriate action."

Robert Dooley, an attorney for Diana Honeycutt, the landlord and owner of the property, declined to comment on any potential inspection and removal plan.

Honeycutt, whose family owned a company called Coastal Environmental that appears on the MTA trucking documents, also previously operated an environmental contracting company that lost a federal job after failing to meet technical requirements.

The contractor, known as DS3, had won an $8.8 million contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2013 to conduct post-superstorm Sandy cleanup work on Fire Island, but lost the contract after another prospective contractor filed a bid protest, Newsday reported at the time, citing federal documents.

The competitor’s protest was "found to have merit," and the contract was pulled from DS3, whose president was Honeycutt, Newsday reported.

Records left with the material found at the Islip Terrace home indicated it had been removed by Coastal Environmental from various construction jobs around New York City in 2016. That company was affiliated with Honeycutt’s family, the Silvas.

Dooley, the attorney for Honeycutt, said, "As far as I know, she has zero ties" to Coastal Environmental.

According to Newsday, the Army Corps review found in 2013 that DS3 "did not meet the criteria for the [Fire Island] project, which requires removing and hauling 9,650 tons of debris off the barrier island" by the end of March 2013.

The DS3 bid for the work involved help from Coastal Environmental. Richard Silva Jr., then president of Coastal Environmental, attended an Army Corps tour of the Fire Island job site in 2013 as one of two representatives of DS3, according to Newsday.

Silva in 2013 told Newsday it was common for family members to start contracting companies that work together.

"I don’t want to be singled out," he said, for what he called a common business practice. Silva said Coastal was "just helping support them [DS3] with some of the labor requirements."

A call to DS3 said the line had been disconnected, and Silva could not be reached.

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