BROOKHAVEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Some angry Long Island residents are calling for the closure of the Brookhaven town landfill after noxious fumes from treated sludge made their children sick.
Parents in Bellport organized a petition drive pushing to get the dump permanently closed and cleaned up.
Jennifer Monte, whose daughter was among those treated, said she has had enough.
“We have children and we’re concerned about their health. We’re concerned when we walk out the front door, that there is a smell and it’s disgusting,” Monte said.
New York City pays Brookhaven millions of dollars to accept ten thousand tons of its sewage per month. However, New York state has ordered a temporary halt to the shipments after students and teachers got sick from the landfill’s odors last week.
“The air quality is terrible. We don’t want [children] drinking from the water fountains. Playing outside is an issue,” Monte said.
The Department of Environmental Conservation was called in as well, but their air tests came back negative for hazardous materials.
However, Donna Dimartino, whose youngest daughter has brain tumors, fears her health was affected living in the proximity of the dump.
“All these children are getting headaches around here and nausea, and feeling ill, and it was all because of the landfill,” she said.
Town Supervisor Mark Lesko is now dealing with the unexpected revenue loss from the sludge ban — $4 million dollars. The landfill fees contribute to 40 percent of the town’s budget.
Lesko stressed the dump’s safety, saying the landfill was “one of the most heavily regulated…in the entire country.”
“What makes me mad is the first response from the town is how are they going to come up with the missing money now that sludge is stopping,” Bellport parent Troy Sica said.
The town says if parents succeed in closing the landfill, property taxes would jump 300 percent.