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East Hampton Town officials say dust from farm under control, soil tested

Fine dust blown from a nearby farm field

Fine dust blown from a nearby farm field accumulated along the streets in downtown Amagansett on Jan. 15. Credit: Newsday / Vera Chinese

Straw placed on an Amagansett farm field has been effective in preventing swirling dust from blowing across the hamlet, East Hampton Town officials said in a news release on Friday.

Silty topsoil from an Amagansett potato field blew into nearby homes and businesses beginning in December, a natural process known as wind erosion that residents said was worse this season than ever before. A cover crop, which generally protects soil from such erosion, was planted over the potato field late last year but did not survive, leaving the field unsecured, town officials said.

Soil samples performed at the request of the town showed metal levels below state standards and no detections of pesticides. The test results are available on the town website, ehamptonny.gov.

An agreement between Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc and landowner Barry Bistrian called for the placement of straw over the field secured in place by snow fencing to prevent the soil particles from spreading.

“The straw has been successful at largely eliminating the swirling particulates that had caused concern,” the town said in a statement.

Town staffers have also removed the fine dust that had built up along the streets of downtown Amagansett, according to the release.

Town officials along with Bistrian, farmer Peter Dankowski and Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District manager Corey Humphrey met to discuss and develop short and long-term strategies for the issue, town officials said.

“We will continue to monitor the field conditions and take necessary actions to insure that this doesn’t happen again,” Van Scoyoc said in a statement.

Dan Mongan, an Amagansett resident who spoke on the issue at recent town board meetings, said he was thankful the town took action, but stressed the need for specific protocol should a dust event happen again.

“Amagansett citizens are hopeful, but a little nervous that this could reoccur,” Mongan said. “I trust the town to stick with it.”

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