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Babylon defines acceptable fill for construction use

Rich Groh, Babylon Town chief environment analyst, seen

Rich Groh, Babylon Town chief environment analyst, seen here on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, says that after superstorm Sandy, large amounts of fill were being used by residents who were rebuilding. The town has now defined what deposited fill may contain in an effort to prevent the use of contaminated or improper materials. Photo Credit: /

Town of Babylon officials have defined what deposited fill may contain in an effort to prevent the use of contaminated or improper materials.

The move was initiated by Deputy Supervisor Tony Martinez, who grew concerned about the quality of fill being used on the South Shore during superstorm Sandy recovery efforts.

With so many houses being elevated at the same time, contractors started using large amounts of fill, said town chief environment analyst Rich Groh. Some fill was found to be contaminated, he said.

“There’s fill that had concrete and brick and even tires mixed in, and that’s not acceptable,” Groh said. Improper fill could cause structural problems down the road, he noted.

Martinez tasked Groh with developing a policy for the town to define what fill is and what it should contain.

The town now defines acceptable fill as composed of “clean, non-burnable material containing no solid waste.” The fill should be “generally derived from residential excavations or sand mining of undeveloped lands and should also exhibit good drainage characteristics and not contain clay or silt.”

The fill should not contain contaminants that exceed soil cleanup standards under state law, nor should it include “recognizable concrete, steel or brick or any discarded material or substances, including but not limited to garbage, rubber, glass, refuse, sludges from air or water pollution control facilities or water supply treatment facilities, rubbish, ashes . . . or any organic matter that may decompose over time,” according to the definition.

The definition of acceptable fill applies to materials used at private residential, commercial and industrial sites within the town, according to the policy.

Residents can ask the town to inspect fill and the town can ask that it be moved to an off-site location that meets state Department of Environmental Conservation requirements.

“This gives us the ability to regulate material,” Groh said.

He said the policy was not driven by recent incidents where contaminated debris was illegally dumped at several sites around Suffolk County, but the policy does help protect residents.

“We’re cognizant of those situations and we certainly don’t want to see anything like that happen,” he said.

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