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Roberto Clemente Park cleanup plan sent to state for review

The closed Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood is

The closed Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood is pictured Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. Credit: Barry Sloan

The Town of Islip has given the state its plan for removing the estimated 50,000 tons of dirt and debris strewn with toxins dumped illegally at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood, officials announced Tuesday.

Town officials requested an expedited review of the 250-page plan sent to the Department of Environmental Conservation on Friday. A quick review will help speed up the cleanup, said Inez Birbiglia, a deputy town parks commissioner. The plan must be approved by the DEC before removal of any debris can begin.

Health and safety measures, such as a Community Air Monitoring Plan and sampling after the cleanups to ensure all illegally placed material has been removed, are included in the plan, Birbiglia said. About 25 percent of the debris will need to be carted off Long Island, she said, while the remaining material can go to the town's landfill in Hauppauge.

"The level of removal in our plan was the most that could be achieved and we hope the DEC approves our goals," Birbiglia said after Tuesday's town board meeting.

DEC officials did not respond to a request for comment.

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota earlier this year launched a criminal probe into illegal dumping at the park and three other sites in the town. The hazardous materials had been dumped in the park over a period of several months starting as early as June 2013. The park has been closed since April.

The DEC in late August approved the first phase of the plan, which will include installing three permanent groundwater monitoring wells that will be operating before, during and after the cleanup.

Construction of the wells is to start in about two weeks, Birbiglia said. The work will be undertaken by Ronkonkoma-based Enviroscience Inc. Suffolk County Water Authority officials have said the drinking water is currently safe.

Islip officials had marked the beginning of 2015 as the projected start date for the cleanup but now hope to get the first truckloads of debris out of the park in November, Birbiglia said.

The total cost of the cleanup cannot be determined until a contractor is selected through a public bid, which is expected to go out once the DEC approves a plan, officials said.

The town board has authorized as much as $6 million in bonds to pay for the remediation, but some town officials expect the cost to grow.

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