A report the New York Department of Environmental Conservation issued in May on the former Steck Philbin landfill in Kings Park found the site poses a “significant” environmental and public health threat, records show.
Last year, the DEC began examining the 25.4-acre property on Old Northport Road to determine the nature and extent of contamination. Semi-volatile organic compounds, volatile organic compounds, metals and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS compounds, were detected in groundwater and soil.
The remedial investigation report for the site — which the DEC put together with state health officials — also said the ex-landfill has high toxic chemical concentrations.
DEC officials said their conclusion was based on the presence of PFAS substances and 1,4-dioxane — a stabilizer for chlorinated solvents the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has listed as a likely human carcinogen.
The report also documented the presence of methane and vinyl chloride "believed to be associated with the landfilled materials and past use of the site."
The next step will be creating a cleanup plan to address the contamination, with the DEC and state health department overseeing the work, according to the DEC report.
Property records list the owners of the ex-landfill, which closed in the early 1990s, as Richard and Roslyn Steck of Steck & Philbin Development Company.
In 2017, Suffolk County sought to transfer the property to Kings Park business owner Toby Carlson, who planned to rehabilitate the site. However, residents objected to transferring the property without restrictions.
In 2018, Suffolk County Landbank Corporation — a nonprofit that facilitates rehabilitation of tax-delinquent brownfields — scrapped plans for the property sale after workers building a nearby soccer facility found about 40,000 cubic yards of debris on the Steck Philbin site.
Landbank officials said in 2019 they'd prefer cleaning the site through the DEC's brownfield cleanup program, Newsday reported at the time. The program offers tax credits to property owners who pursue remediation during redevelopment.
The same year, the Suffolk County Legislature approved selling the landfill and a nearby former tire dump to Cox Brothers LLC for about $1.9 million.
Cox Brothers had proposed redeveloping the site into a warehouse and office space, as well as a construction yard with repair garages, according to county records.
In 2020, the DEC accepted the landfill into its brownfield cleanup program.
Cox Brothers didn't return messages Monday. But Suffolk County spokeswoman Marykate Guilfoyle said the company was accepted into the brownfield program and has been working with the DEC to "determine the extent of emerging contaminants."
She added that a sale won't take place "until an environmental remedy has been selected and approved" by the DEC.
Suffolk County Legis. Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) said in a June 1 letter sent to landbank officials and the DEC he wants to discuss what's necessary to designate the property as a state Superfund site.
“It should have been capped years ago,” Trotta added in an interview. “My constituents are drinking polluted water.”
Suffolk County Legis. Jason Richberg (D-West Babylon), a member of the landbank's board, said Monday that landbank officials at a meeting Thursday asked the DEC to respond to Trotta's request.
DEC spokesman John Salka said the agency contacted Trotta and will set up a meeting.
A spokeswoman for Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim said town officials couldn't comment on a county matter.