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Fire Island Sandy debris cleanup delayed again

Aerial views showing debris from destroyed oceanfront homes

Aerial views showing debris from destroyed oceanfront homes on Davis Park, Fire Island from superstorm Sandy. (Oct. 31, 2012) Credit: John Roca

A post-superstorm Sandy debris cleanup effort on Fire Island has been stalled again due to another protest on the contract for the cleanup.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the lead agency responsible for overseeing the cleanup of roughly 9,650 tons of storm debris that must be removed from the barrier island by the end of March, said this is the fifth protest on the contract since a bid was first awarded Jan. 25.

Debris removal was scheduled to begin in January but still has not started, and access to the island’s oceanfront will be limited after March 15, when the state-endangered piping plover begins its nesting season there.

Army Corps spokeswoman Marilyn Phipps said Wednesday the latest objection was an “agency protest,” meaning a protest against the Army Corps, and that “nothing can move forward until all the issues have been addressed and a determination is made.” Phipps did not know how long that would take.

This latest protest was submitted by Islip-based Quintal Contracting Corp.

Reached by phone, a Quintal representative acknowledged the company submitted the protest, but officials did not immediately call back for additional comment.

Central Islip-based DS3 Enterprises Inc. initially won the job for $8.8 million, but the contract was withdrawn. Then Bay Shore-based Custom Earth Recycling Llc was awarded the contract for $10.5 million.

After two other protests led to withdrawing that award from Custom Earth Recycling, the Army Corps announced that instead of awarding the job to a small, local company, it would use Advanced Contracting Initiative protocol to find a preapproved, nonlocal company to complete the work. The contractor would have to employ at least 50 percent local labor, the Corps said. A Tennessee firm had received the contract that was put on hold Wednesday.


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