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Brookhaven officials, concerned about odors and dust, will install monitors at town landfill

A plow is used to move waste at

A plow is used to move waste at the Brookhaven Town landfill Thursday, May 21, 2015. Credit: Barry Sloan

Brookhaven officials plan to install odor and dust monitors at the town landfill and a nearby school this summer to determine possible sources of sickening odors and dust.

Neighbors of the landfill in Brookhaven hamlet and teachers at Frank P. Long Intermediate School blame the 192-acre dump for smells and dust. Town officials have said those problems may also be caused by other sources.

A draft report prepared for town officials by RTP Environmental Associates of Westbury outlined plans for monitors at the landfill and the intermediate school, less than a mile from the dump. Teachers would be trained to take measurements as part of the program, the report said.

The report was discussed last week during a meeting attended by town and DEC officials and local residents.

The monitoring program, which must be approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, would cost an estimated $35,000 and would conclude when officials determine the sources of dust and smells, town Waste Management Commissioner Matt Miner said Monday.

"What we want to do is figure out [and] . . . identify potential source points at the landfill and correct them," he said. "If it is the landfill or something from the landfill complex, we're working to address that."

The RTP report said the landfill is one of several possible causes of smells and dust, including nearby industrial sites, farms, sewage treatment and compost facilities, the town animal shelter, cesspools and wetlands.

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Long Island-based Citizens Campaign for the Environment, who attended the meeting, said town officials are "moving in the right direction.

"For the first time, they've admitted that the landfill is a source for odor and dust," Esposito said. "Though there might be other sources in the community, the landfill is the elephant in the room."

Joseph Giani, superintendent of South Country Central School District, which includes Long Intermediate School, could not be reached for comment.

Town officials will consider making improvements at the landfill such as upgrading leachate controls to reduce odors, Miner said. Officials also plan to cap 13 acres at the landfill that are near capacity.

Miner said he expected DEC officials to approve the monitoring plan within weeks, and the study would begin later this summer. DEC officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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