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135 potentially polluted sites on LI added to state list

The Grumman plant in Bethpage was added to

The Grumman plant in Bethpage was added to the list of potentially polluted sites on Long Island. (March 13, 2009) Credit: Jennifer Smith

Environmental officials have added 135 potentially polluted sites in Nassau and Suffolk to the state list of locations in its brownfields program or on the state registry of inactive hazardous waste disposal sites.

State officials cautioned that some new sites on the online listing -- 68 in Nassau and 67 in Suffolk -- may not actually be contaminated, but they meet at least one criteria for listing, such as being a place where hazardous wastes were once stored.

Among the newly listed sites are properties under state investigation for suspected contamination; sites once regulated by the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act because they generated, treated or stored hazardous wastes; and sites where a property owner never completed an application that had been started to participate in a brownfields decontamination program.

All of the information on a specific site had been available from the DEC on request but was not part of a database available to the public.

"This information is now being made available . . . due to the increasing and large numbers of requests for property information that are often associated with buying and selling property," said DEC public information officer Lisa King.

She cautioned that some information used to put properties on the list might be preliminary, incomplete or decades old. "Significant conclusions or decisions should not be based solely on these summaries," she said.

Still, the action was praised by the Group for the East End, which said the listing would make it easier for people to learn more about possible problems in their neighborhoods. "The earlier the public and municipalities are knowledgeable about contamination, the more capable we all are of making informed public decisions," said Jenn Hartnagel, an environmental advocate for the group.

State Assemb. Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), who had tried unsuccessfully for three years to pass legislation that would have required the DEC to list the additional sites, said the change was an "important step" in "improving transparency."

The new listings add about 1,900 locations statewide to the DEC's list of nearly 2,500 contaminated sites across New York. The inclusion brings the online list to 297 locations in Nassau and 278 locations in Suffolk. There are 4,362 total sites statewide.

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