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Officials: Clean up to begin at West Hills County Park

Law enforcement officials have estimated thousands of  semi-volatile organic compounds, asbestos and metals, were found in the form of finely pulverized material in depths from 3.5  to 6 feet.

Suffolk County park ranger shown at the riding

Suffolk County park ranger shown at the riding stable at West Hills County Park on Aug. 26, 2016. Photo Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

After more than two years of delays, Suffolk parks officials said Wednesday they will soon start the clean-up of toxic waste illegally dumped at West Hills County Park.

“We’ve been out there flagging the area, and we’re bringing the heavy equipment in and we will begin Oct. 1,” Philip Berdolt, the county parks commissioner told legislators at a parks committee meeting. He said the work is expected to take 60 to 90 days to complete.

County officials have said the size of the dumping site is more than 3.5 acres.  Law enforcement officials have estimated thousands of  semi-volatile organic compounds , asbestos and metals, as well as pesticides banned since the 1960s,  were found in the form of finely pulverized  material in depths from 3.5  to 6 feet.

Under a plea deal reached late last year, LJM Gardens LLC of West Hampstead, Kris/D/Lyne3 Contracting Corp. of Garden City Park and Sweet Hollow Stables of Central Islip, which has been ousted as county concessionaire, must remove 450 truckloads — about 15,750 cubic yards of tainted material as well as pay $34,000 for the improper removal of park trees.

The agreement also calls for the defendants to pay for clean-up plan, developed by a county consultants and allows the county to seek addition costs including supervision of the clean-up.

The county has retained Euroscience for $150,000 as a consultant to do air monitoring at the park while a public works has assigned an in-house clerk to supervise both the clean up and the disposal of tainted material.  

While clean-up is about to start, efforts to bring in another concessionaire to replace Sweet Hollow as the stable, and day camp operator is likely to be impacted by a court ruling last week giving a preliminary injunction to County Comptroller John Kennedy blocking any new requests for proposals until

Berdolt said he would like to put out a request for proposals by January so the county can selected a new operator for the stable that can accommodate about 100 horses, by this summer. In light of the legal issues, he said the process may be delayed until March.

Bellone aides had no immediate comment. Kennedy appeared ready to talk. “I’m waiting for their attorney to call my attorney so we can work it out,” he said.

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