Brookhaven Town officials said piles of debris — including tires, mattresses and carnival game equipment — found last week at a vacant Miller Place property appear to be the latest evidence of illegal dumping on Long Island.
A town environmental analyst said he discovered the debris strewn across the east and west sides of Miller Place Yaphank Road, on property owned by Suffolk County. The site also is within the state-protected pine barrens, officials said.
The dumping was reported to county officials and the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Brookhaven officials said. The DEC “is responding to the tip and increasing patrols of the area,” a spokeswoman said in an email.
Brookhaven Supervisor Edward P. Romaine said the debris included more than 60 car tires, construction debris, pallets, fencing, roofing, car parts and household appliances. Petroleum odors and darkened soil indicated that gasoline may have leaked from a tank found among the debris, he said.
He said the debris was found on Wednesday or Thursday but probably had been there “for some time.”
“Dumping has become more rampant,” Romaine said in an interview Friday. “This is concerning.”
As of Friday, the debris had not been removed. Romaine said cleaning the site was the county’s responsibility. A spokeswoman for County Executive Steve Bellone did not respond to a request for comment.
Local officials have struggled to contain large-scale illegal dumping, a problem that came to the forefront when more than 40,000 tons of construction and other debris were found in 2014 in Islip Town’s Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood. The park remains shuttered. Parts of West Hills County Park in Melville near Sweet Hills Riding Center were closed last year after finely processed construction and demolition material was found there.
In Brookhaven, illegal dump sites have been discovered in Coram, Manorville, Moriches and Holtsville.
“Unfortunately, folks look at vacant property, especially publicly-owned parkland, as an open invitation to dump things that they should place in a proper facility,” said John Pavacic, executive director of the state’s Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission. “It’s an insult to the environment.”
Officials said preventing illegal dumping, and tracing dumped material to its sources, has proved difficult.
Legis. Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) said if the material is contaminated it could contaminate the groundwater and urged residents who spot possible illegal dumping to call police.
DEC officials said tips on illegal dumping or other environmental crimes may be reported by calling 631-444-0250 during regular business hours. At other times, tipsters may call 877-457-5680 or 518-408-5250.