YAPHANK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Going into a hot summer weekend, residents in one Long Island community are dreading being outdoors, but not for obvious reasons. They say a nearby landfill stinks and their town wants to make it even bigger.
When others will be backyard barbequing this weekend, Kathleen Scheibel said her backyard will be filled with the smell of rotting trash.
“Oh it stinks, it would make sick…It smells so bad,” Scheibel told CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff on Friday.
Scheibel is among those who live downwind from the Brookhaven Town Landfill in Yaphank. Now, they fear the smell could get even worse as the town wants to expand the landfill to raise revenue.
“Nobody seems to be looking ahead here. They are just falling back on ‘Oh fill the dump, fill the dump,'” Carol Capaldo said.
The landfill is already 270 feet high and Brookhaven has proposed adding another 50 feet in height, taking in more than 10 percent more trash and extending its life an extra three years to 2032.
Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko said tough economic times require new revenue.
“The additional $2 million in revenue would be equivalent to a 10-percent tax increase or the elimination of approximately 25 full-time positions,” Lesko said in a statement.
No one wants layoffs and higher taxes, but people who live near the landfill said they are bearing an unfair burden when landfills all over the world are closing, not growing.
An environmental group has joined the opposition.
“Landfills are an old, antiquated, archaic way of dealing with our garbage that often cause pollution,” said Adrienne Esposito, of the Citizen’s Campaign for the Environment.
Residents said when the landfill was built in the 1970s, they were promised it would be a third of the size. Now, they said it takes in trash from as far away as New Jersey — trashing their quality of life.
“It’s like it’s this nightmare just hanging over us. Fifty feet higher means more dust, more smell, more stink,” Jennifer Clement said.
The decision is now in hands of the Department of Environmental Conservation.
In the meantime, residents said they’ll make their own stink. They’ve hired an attorney and said they’ll fight the landfill expansion in court.
Brookhaven officials said the landfill expansion will bring in $120 million in revenue at the end of 20 years.
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